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EEV.    WILLIAM    J.    DEANE,    M.A., 




T.  &  T.  CLARK,  38  GEORGE  STREET. 


T.    &    T.    CLARK,     EDINBURGH. 



NEW  YORK,    .      .  .      CHARLES  SCRIBNER*S  SONS. 


THE  present  work  consists  chiefly  of  a  reproduction  of 
certain  articles  (with  additions  and  corrections)  contri- 
buted by  me  to  various  religious  periodicals  during  the 
last  few  years.  .It  treats  of  some  curious  Pseudepi- 
graphal  Jewish  and  Christian  writings  composed  in  the 
times  immediately  preceding  or  following  the  commence- 
ment of  the  Christian  era,  and  aims  at  giving  a  succinct 
account  of  these  productions  for  readers  who  are  not 
familiar  with  the  originals.  The  books  comprised  in 
our  English  Bibles  under  the  name  of  "  Apocrypha " 
are  excluded,  as  they  have  been  sufficiently  examined  of 
late  years,  and  commentaries  upon  them  are  readily 
available.  Some  of  the  works  treated  in  this  volume 
are  comparatively  unknown  to  English  readers,  but  those 
(like  the  Book  of  Enoch)  which  have  obtained  more 
currency  among  us  could  not  be  omitted  from  our 
survey,  especially  as  they  form  an  integral  part  of  the 
literature  of  the  period,  and  are  often  referred  to  and 
cited.  The  whole  of  the  writings  here  examined  have 




not  hitherto  been  collected  into  one  volume.  The 
original  text  or  versions  of  some  of  them  have  been 
printed  in  Fabricius'  Codex  Pseudepigraplms  Veteris 
Testamenti ;  and  in  Fritzsche's  Libri  ApocrypJii  Vet. 
Test.;  the  others  have  been  published  by  various  editors 
at  various  times,  as  noted  in  the  following  accounts. 




The  Psalter  of  Solomon,      ....  25 


The  Book  of  Enoch,    .......  49 

The  Assumption  of  Moses,          .....  95 

The  Apocalypse  of  JBaruch,         .....  130 

The  Testaments  of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs,  .        .        .162 


The  Book  of  Jubilees,  '        ......  193 

The  Ascension  of  Isaiah,     ......  236 


The  Sibylline  Oracles,        .        .  276 



IN  the  times  immediately  preceding  and  succeeding  the 
commencement  of  the  Christian  era  there  arose  among 
the  Jews  a  style  of  writing  to  which  the  name  Pseudepi- 
graphic  has  been  given,  because  most  of  the  works  so 
composed  appeared  under  the  assumed  name  of  some 
famous  person.  They  must  not  be  considered  in  the 
light  of  literary  forgeries ;  they  are  not  like  Macpherson 
with  his  Ossian,  or  Chatter  ton  with  his  Rowley,  fraud- 
ulent attempts  at  imposture ;  but  the  authors,  having 
something  to  say  which  they  deemed  worthy  of  the 
attention  of  contemporaries,  put  it  forth  under  the  aegis 
of  a  great  name,  not  to  deceive,  but  to  conciliate  favour. 
A  writer  who  ventured  to  appropriate  a  celebrated  title 
would  take  care  to  satisfy  the  expectations  raised  by  his 
pseudonym,  and  readers  would  believe  that  no  one  would 
dare  to  challenge  comparison  with  a  great  original  who 
was  not  qualified  to  sustain  the  character  assumed.  The 
most  familiar  instance  is,  perhaps,  the  book  known  as 
the  Wisdom  of  Solomon,  wherein  the  writer  assumes  the 
person  of  the  great  Israelite  king,  certainly  with  no  idea 
of  deceiving  his  readers  (for  the  language  of  the  treatise, 
the  date  and  place  of  its  composition,  alike  forbid  any 
notion  of  fraud),  but  with  the  view  of  supporting  his 



opinions  by  the  highest  authority,  and  as  embodying 
sentiments  which  are  such  as  the  son  of  David  might 
have  enunciated.  A  similar  impersonation  is  familiar  to 
us  in  the  Book  of  Ecclesiastes,  where  Koheleth  utters 
his  varied  experiences  through  the  mouth  of  Solomon, 
"  son  of  David,  king  in  Jerusalem."  Such  a  use  of  fiction 
has  been  common  in  all  ages ;  it  is  found  in  classical 
authors.  Plato  and  Cicero  introduced  real  characters  as 
vehicles  for  supporting  or  opposing  their  views.  The 
Apologies  of  Socrates,  the  speeches  in  Thucydides  and 
Livy,  are  never  deemed  to  be  intentional  deceptions  ; 
the  animus  decipiendi  is  lacking  ;  and  though  they  utter 
the  words  of  the  writers,  and  not  those  of  the  persons 
represented,  no  one  sees  in  them  fraud  and  chicanery, 
but  every  one  regards  them  as  legitimate  examples  of 
dramatic  personation.  The  Old  Testament  authors  do 
not  prefix  their  names  to  their  works,  as  they  write,  not 
for  self-glorification,  but  to  serve  far  higher  purposes. 
The  only  exception  to  this  rule  is  found  in  the  case  of 
the  prophets,  whose  names  and  credentials  were  neces- 
sarily required,  in  order  to  give  weight  and  credibility  to 
their  announcements.  In  accordance  with  this  practice 
the  uninspired  apocalyptic  writers  publish  their  visions 
and  lucubrations  under  the  appellation  of  some  earlier 
worthy,  whom  with  transparent  impersonation  they 
introduce  into  their  compositions.  They  might  also 
claim  the  authority  of  the  titles  of  many  books  in  the 
Old  Testament  which  are  presented  under  the  names  of 
authors  who  certainly  did  not  write  them.  No  one 
supposes  that  Euth  or  Esther  composed  the  books  which 
bear  their  names,  and  very  little  of  the  two  books  of 


Samuel  are  the  work  of  that  great  prophet.  The 
Psalmists  adopted  the  designations  of  David,  or  Asaph, 
or  the  sons  of  Korah,  because  they  echoed  the  spirit  or 
employed  the  forms  found  in  their  prototypes.  Those 
who  followed  the  footsteps  of  these  great  predecessors, 
without  their  claim  to  inspiration,  thought  themselves 
justified  in  winning  attention  to  their  utterances  by 
adventitious  means,  and  boldly  personated  the  eminent 
characters  in  whose  spirit  they  wrote.1 

At  the  cessation  of  prophecy  among  the  Jews,  when 
no  longer  the  utterances  of  inspired  seers  denounced 
abuses,  pointed  the  right  way,  proclaimed  the  will  of 
God,  great  attention  was  paid  by  devout  men  to  the 
study  and  interpretation  of  canonical  Scripture.  In 
contrast  with  the  heathenism  of  surrounding  nations,  the 
Hebrew  pored  over  his  Heaven-sent  law,  and,  by  atten- 
tion thereto,  confirmed  his  abhorrence  of  idolatry  and  his 
adherence  to  his  monotheistic  faith.  The  degradation  of 
Israel  under  its  pagan  oppressors,  and  the  temporary 
triumph  of  the  chosen  people  in  the  Maccabean  period, 
gave  rise  to  the  apocalyptic  literature  of  which  we  are 
speaking.  An  unswerving  zeal  for  the  Law,  and  a 
glowing  hope  of  a  happy  future,  formed  the  character- 
istics of  this  period.  From  the  storm  and  tumult  and 
confusion  of  their  own  times  good  men  looked  forward  to 
a  reign  of  peace  and  happiness,  and  strove  to  impart 
their  own  hopes  to  their  desponding  countrymen. 
Taking  their  tone  from,  and  founding  their  views  upon, 
the  ancient  prophets,  and  more  especially  employing  the 
imagery  and  developing  the  annunciations  of  Daniel, 
1  See  Dr.  Ederslieim,  Life  and  Times  of  Jesus,  i.  37  f. 


these  writers,  under  various  forms,  and  with  very 
different  success,  gradually  put  forth  their  notions  of  the 
future,  and  anticipate  the  kingdom  of  Messiah.  Often 
in  their  treatises  they  enter  on  the  history  of  the  past, 
putting  their  words  into  the  mouth  of  an  ancient 
prophet ;  but  all  such  details  are  preparatory  to  the 
predictive  portion,  and  lead  up  to  this  important  element. 
The  grand  destiny  which  awaits  Israel  fills  their  minds  ; 
they  dream  of  an  universal  judgment,  followed  by  the 
supremacy  of  the  chosen  people  ;  they  are  fired  with  an 
enthusiasm  which  is  not  fettered  by  probabilities,  and 
they  boldly  announce  events  as  certain  which  they  have 
no  real  claim  to  foretell,  and  which  nothing  but  an  imagina- 
tive and  ardent  zeal  could  have  induced  them  to  publish. 
The  value  of  these  writings  is  considerable,  and  this 
for  many  reasons ;  but  that  which  chiefly  concerns  us  is 
the  light  which  they  throw  upon  Jewish  belief  at  the 
most  important  era.  Those  which  are  plainly  antecedent 
to  Christian  times  have  their  own  special  utility ;  while 
the  later  productions,  which  belong  to  the  first  Christian 
centuries,  show  the  influence  of  new  ideas  even  on  those 
who  retained  their  affection  for  the  old  religion.  And 
both  series  are  necessary  for  every  study  of  the  religious 
history  of  the  Jews.  It  is  perhaps  true  that  this 
apocalyptic  literature  was  regarded  with  little  favour  by 
the  Eabbinic  schools,  and  no  dogmatic  authority  was 
attributed  to  it ;  but  it  can  be  used  as  indicating  current 
thought,  just  as  we  refer  to  any  contemporary  document 
to  denote  popular  opinion,  though  it  be  not  stamped 
with  the  authority  of  a  teaching  body.  The  number  of 
these  writings  which  are  still  extant,  and  the  many  more 


of  which  the  titles  only  have  remained  to  our  times, 
prove  the  wide  prevalence  of  the  feelings  which  are 
embodied  in  them,  and  the  profound  impression  which 
such  thoughts  had  made  on  the  hearts  of  the  people. 
Omitting  the  works  which  either  in  whole  or  in  part 
have  been  submitted  to  modern  criticism,  we  have 
notices  of  the  existence  of  many  other  apocalyptic  and 
pseudepigraphic  compositions,  whose  titles  pretty  fairly 
explain  their  contents.  Of  course,  very  many  of  the 
works  enumerated  in  the  catalogues  of  extra-canonical 
writings  are  of  Christian  origin  ;  but  even  these  are 
framed  on  the  same  lines  as  the  earlier,  and  very  often 
repeat  the  ideas  and  give  expression  to  the  hopes  found 
in  the  others.  In  the  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras,  which  is 
called  the  Second  in  our  English  Bibles,  the  sacred 
books  are  counted  as  ninety-four,  twenty-two  of  which 
would  be  the  received  items  of  the  Jewish  Canon,  and 
seventy-two  apocryphal.  These  last,  which  in  round 
numbers  are  called  seventy,  were  directed  to  be  reserved 
for  the  wise  among  the  people ;  "  for  in  them  is  the 
spring  of  understanding,  the  fountain  of  wisdom,  and 
the  stream  of  knowledge."1  Hilgenfeld2  reckons  the 
number  of  those  whose  titles  have  survived  at  thirty-six. 
Many  of  these,  however,  would  scarcely  come  under  our 
view  as  Jewish  productions,  being  of  gnostic  or  heretical 
origin,  and  are  rather  to  be  reckoned  among  New  Testa- 
ment pseudepigrapha.  The  term  applied  to  the  books 

1  2  Esdr.  xiv.  44-47.     Some  Latin  MSS.,  instead  of  "  ninety-four," 
give  "  nine  hundred  and  four  ; "  the  Vulgate  lias  "  two  hundred  and 
four  ; "    other  versions,   "  ninety  -  four,"  which  from  what  follows 
seems  to  be  correct. 

2  In  Herzog's  Encyklop.  xii.  341  ff.  (ed.  1883). 


with  which  we  are  concerned  is  used  by  Jerome  in 
allusion  to  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon,  and  has  thence  come 
to  be  employed  for  the  whole  class,  though  not  strictly 
true  of  them  all.  In  his  preface  to  the  Books  of 
Solomon,  Jerome  says,  "  Fertur  et  Panasretos  Jesu  filii 
Sirach  liber,  et  alius  pseudepigraphus,  qui  sapientia 
Salomonis  inscribitur."  Not  that  Jerome  invented  the 
word  which  so  happily  describes  the  leading  character- 
istic of  such  productions.  It  is  found  in  Greek  authors 
long  before  his  time.  Thus  Polybius  (Hist.  xxiv.  5.  5) 
calls  the  tricksy  and  unreliable  Messenian,  Deinocrates, 
tyevSeirlypatyos  KOI  PMTTIKOS.  Spuriousness  of  authorship 
belongs  to  most  of  the  series,  and  is  a  mark  of  the 
writings  which  were  produced  in  such  luxuriance  towards 
the  time  of  the  commencement  of  the  Christian  era  ;  and 
a  term  denoting  this  peculiarity  may  well  be  adopted  as 
their  designation. 

The  documents  fall  naturally  into  three  classes.  The 
first,  of  which  few  representatives  have  reached  us,  may 
be  called  Lyrical.  There  is  a  spurious  production  of  this 
nature  assigned  to  David  in  the  Apostolical  Constitutions,1 
but  it  is  no  longer  extant.  The  only  important  con- 
tribution to  this  class  is  the  Psalter  of  Solomon,  a 
collection  of  eighteen  psalms,  written  probably  originally 
in  Hebrew,  about  half  a  century  before  the  Christian 
era,  but  known  to  us  only  in  a  Greek  version.  They 
are  conceived  in  the  spirit  of  Old  Testament  prophecy, 
and  are  designed  to  console  the  Jews  under  national 
calamity  by  confirming  their  faith  in  future  retribution 
and  Messianic  hopes. 

1  Apost.  Constit.  vi.  16. 


The  second  class  may  be  called  Prophetical,  and  may 
be  divided  into  two  sections,  composed  respectively  of 
Apocalypses  and  Testaments.  Apocalyptic  writings  are 
very  numerous,  the  most  celebrated  being  the  Fourth 
Book  of  Esdras  and  the  Book  of  Enoch.  The  former  of 
these,  as  it  forms  a  portion  of  the  Apocrypha  in  the 
Authorised  Version  of  our  English  Bible,  has  been  copi- 
ously annotated  of  late  years ;  the  latter  from  its  length 
and  importance  demands  special  study.  There  are  many 
others  which  are  most  interesting,  and  claim  notice  at 
our  hands.  The  Assumption  of  Moses  is  the  document 
from  which,  according  to  Origen,  St.  Jude  borrowed  his 
allusion  to  Michael's  dispute  with  Satan  about  the  body 
of  Moses.  It  consists  of  an  address  of  the  great  lawgiver 
to  his  successor  Joshua,  enunciating  the  future  fate  of 
Israel,  partly  historical  down  to  the  author's  time,  and 
partly  predictive.  The  Apocalypse  of  Baruch  is  a 
different  work  from  the  Book  of  Baruch  and  the  Epistle 
of  Jeremy  in  our  English  Apocrypha.  Written  originally 
in  Greek,  it  has  been  preserved  only  in  Syriac  and  Latin 
versions.  It  contains  a  series  of  post  facto  predictions 
supposed  to  be  uttered  by  Baruch  about  the  time  of  the 
first  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  and  a  revelation  of  the 
reign  and  judgment  of  Messiah.  The  Ascension  and 
Vision  of  Isaiah  describe  the  martyrdom  of  the  prophet 
by  his  being  sawn  asunder,  an  allusion  to  which  is 
supposed  to  be  made  in  Heb.  xi.  37,  and  contain  an 
account  of  what  he  saw  when  rapt  to  heaven.  The 
above  are  the  works  which  have  come  to  us  in  a  more  or 
less  perfect  shape.  There  are  many  others  of  which  we 
know  little  more  than  the  titles  which  indeed  are  often 


very  similar  to  those  of  extant  productions,  but  appertain 
to  distinct  works.  There  is  a  Prophecy  and  Eevelation 
of  the  holy  and  beloved  prophet  Esdras,  another  of 
Baruch ;  then  Elijah,  Jeremiah,  Zephaniah,  Ezekiel, 
Habakkuk,  Zechariah,  have  each  their  special  Apoca- 
lypses ;  a  spurious  Daniel  also  is  mentioned ;  and  Adam, 
Lamech,  Moses,  and  Abraham  are  not  unrepresented,  but 
contribute  their  revelations.  Hermas  Pastor l  refers  to  a 
Prophecy  of  Eldad  and  Modat  which  was  well  known  in 
the  early  Church ;  but  this  with  many  others  has  perished 
long  ago ;  and  the  vague  allusions  to  such  works  in  the 
pages  of  the  Fathers  and  in  some  ancient  catalogues  of 
Scripture  do  not  allow  us  to  judge  of  their  contents  and 
character.  Among  the  productions  which  assume  the 
testamentary  form  we  have  the  titles  only  of  some,  e.g. 
the  Diatheke  of  the  Protoplast,  of  Jacob,  Moses,  Hezekiah, 
Adam,  Noah,  Solomon,  Abraham ;  the  Last  Prayer  and 
Blessing  of  Joseph,  a  work  continually  quoted  by  Origen 
as  "  a  writing  not  to  be  despised,"  and  said  by  him  to  be 
in  circulation  among  the  Hebrews.  But  the  work  of  this 
character  that  is  still  extant  is  called  the  Testaments  of 
the  Twelve  Patriarchs.  This  is  an  account  of  the  lives 
of  the  sons  of  Jacob,  containing  many  legendary  particu- 
lars not  found  in  Scripture,  revelations  of  the  future,  and 
Messianic  predictions. 

The  third  class  takes  a  historical  or  Haggadistic 
character.  Its  chief  representative  is  the  Book  of  Jubi- 
lees, or  Micro-Genesis,  an  enlarged  account  of  Biblical 
history  down  to  the  institution  of  the  Passover,  with  the 
chronology  reduced  to  Jubilee  periods.  Other  works  of 
1  Vis.  ii.  3.  4. 


which  little  is  known  are  these  :  the  History  of  Jannes 
and  Jambres,  the  magicians  who  opposed  Moses  at  the 
court  of  Pharaoh  :  the  Conversion  of  Manasses,  a  different 
work  from  the  Prayer  of  Manasses  in  our  Apocrypha ; 
the  Life  of  Adam  ;  the  Eevelation  of  Adam  ;  the  Kepent- 
ance  of  Adam ;  the  Daughters  of  Adam ;  the  Gospel  of 
Eve ;  the  Story  of  Asenath,  Joseph's  wife,  and  that  of 
Noria,  the  wife  of  Noah. 

We  have  omitted  mention  of  the  Sibylline  Oracles,  not 
because  they  are  of  less  importance  than  other  works,  but 
because  they  partake  of  the  nature  of  all  three  classes, 
and  cannot  be  assigned  specially  to  any  one  of  them. 
They  are  lyrical,  being  written  in  measured  verse,  and 
very  often  in  a  highly  poetical  strain  ;  they  are  historical, 
detailing  the  events  in  the  history  of  various  peoples 
down  to  Christian  times,  with  an  admixture  of  truth  and 
fiction  which  is  hard  to  unravel;  and  they  are  apoca- 
lyptic, in  that  they  foreshadow  the  future  of  Messiah's 
kingdom  and  the  destiny  of  the  elect.  While  a  large  pro- 
portion of  these  poems  is  of  post-Christian  origin,  there 
are  considerable  fragments  of  earlier  date  which  are  of 
important  utility  in  determining  prevalent  Jewish  views. 
Schiirer  happily  calls  them  "  Jewish  Propaganda  under  a 
heathen  mask,"  and  classes  them  with  the  so-called  pro- 
ductions of  Hystaspes,  Hecatreus,  Aristaeus,  and  Phocylides. 

Without  anticipating  details  which  belong  to  the 
special  account  of  each  of  these  works,  we  may  here 
gather  up  some  general  results  of  the  doctrine  enunciated 
in  them.1 

1  I  have  in  this  sketch  gladly  availed  myself  of  Prof.  Drummond's 
The  Jewish  Messiah,  and  Mr.  Stanton's    The  Jewish   and  Christian 


First,  as  to  the  divisions  of  time,  we  find  throughout 
the  books  that  two  great  periods  are  specified — the 
present,  and  the  future  or  coming  age.  This  is  in  con- 
formity with  the  view  taken  in  the  Book  of  Daniel. 
The  former  period  is  one  of  depression  and  misery,  when 
Israel  is  for  a  time  prostrate  under  the  heel  of  Gentile 
enemies  ;  the  latter  is  an  eternity  of  victory  and  bliss, 
when  "  the  saints  of  the  Most  High  shall  receive  the 
kingdom,  and  possess  the  kingdom  for  ever,  even  for 
ever  and  ever."  1  The  temporary  and  the  eternal  periods 
are  strongly  contrasted,  though  there  is  no  general  consent 
as  to  the  moment  when  the  happy  age  shall  dawn.  But 
it  shall  be  preceded  by  a  judgment  which  is  to  take 
place  in  the  last  days,  the  end  of  the  transition  state, 
wherein  the  heathen  shall  receive  their  doom.  This 
great  day  is  known  only  to  God  ;  but  it  shall  be  revealed 
in  due  time,  and  meanwhile  men  need  not  disquiet  them- 
selves concerning  its  advent ;  as  it  is  said  in  the  Book  of 
Enoch,  "  Let  not  your  spirit  be  grieved  on  account  of  the 
times,  for  the  Holy  One  hath  prescribed  days  to  all. 
And  the  righteous  shall  arise  from  sleep,  and  walk  in  the 
way  of  righteousness,  and  God  will  be  gracious  unto 
them,  and  give  them  everlasting  dominion."  '  In  the 
Psalms  of  Solomon  we  read,3  "  Behold,  0  Lord,  and  raise 
up  for  them  their  king,  the  son  of  David,  at  the  time 
which  Thou,  0  God,  knowest."  In  the  Fourth  Book  of 
Esdras  it  is  said,  "  The  Most  High  hath  made,  not  one 

Messiah,  though  most  of  the  articles  on  special  pseudepigraphal 
works  were  originally  written  before  I  had  seen  those  books.  Since 
then  I  have  had  the  pleasure  of  perusing  Schiirer's  valuable  treatise 
on  The  Jewish  People  in  the  time  of  Jesus  Christ. 

1  Dan.  vii.  18.  2  Enoch  xcii.  2  ff.  3  Ps.  xvii.  23. 


age,  but  two ; "  and  again,  "  He  hath  made  this  age  for 
the  sake  of  many,  but  the  future  for  the  sake  of  few."  l 
And,  "  This  present  age  is  not  the  end  .  .  .  but  the 
day  of  judgment  will  be  the  end  of  this  time,  and  the 
beginning  of  the  immortal  age  that  is  to  come,  wherein 
corruption  hath  passed  away."  2  Attempts  ,are  made  to 
define  the  length  of  the  first  period  more  accurately,  but 
the  proposed  solutions  do  not  help  much  to  satisfy 
inquiry.  The  Book  of  Enoch  in  one  place  allots  seventy 
generations  to  the  world's  history,  in  another  divides  it 
into  ten  weeks ;  in  the  Assumption  of  Moses  the  be- 
ginning of  the  second  age  is  placed  "  two  hundred  and 
fifty  times,"  i.e.  probably  250  weeks  of  years  (=4250), 
after  the  death  of  Moses,  A.M.  2500.  This  is  almost  the 
same  result  as  is  obtained  in  the  Book  of  Jubilees.  In 
the  Fourth  Book  of  the  Sibylline  Oracles  the  time  is 
divided  into  eleven  generations,3  in  the  last  of  which  the 
judgment  shall  take  place.  In  the  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras 
and  in  the  Apocalypse  of  Baruch  the  age  consists  of  twelve 
sections,  at  the  end  of  which  the  new  era  shall  commence. 
Failing  to  define  accurately  the  duration  of  the  first 
age  of  the  world,  speculation  concerned  itself  with  the 
signs  which  should  herald  the  approach  of  the  last  times. 

1  The  former  passage  occurs  in  the  fragment  omitted  in  the  old 
Latin  editions  and  versions  founded  thereon,  and  will  be  found  in 
Fritzsche's  book  as  vi.  25,  and  in  Churton's  as  vii.  50.    In  both  passages 
the  word   rendered   "  age "   is   "  sseculum,"  which   some,  however, 
translate  "  world." 

2  vii.  42  f. 

3  So  all  the  MSS.      Alexandre  reads  s;  &XHTW,  asserting  that 
throughout  the  books  the  last  generation  is  always  the  tenth,  and  he 
refers  in  confirmation  to  vers.  47  and  86.     But  see  Drummond,  p. 


Theorists  endeavoured  to  answer  that  question  which, 
quite  in  accordance  with  Jewish  opinion,  the  apostles 
put  to  Christ,  "  Tell  us,  when  shall  these  things  be  ? 
and  what  shall  be  the  sign  of  Thy  coming,  and  of  the 
consummation  of  the  age  ?  "  l  Thus  the  Sibyl  affirms  that 
there  shall  be  seen  swords  in  the  heaven,  and  storms  of 
dust,  and  an  eclipse  of  the  sun,  and  armed  warriors 
contending  in  the  sky.2  The  Book  of  Enoch  foretells 
great  changes  in  the  course  of  nature  —  the  alteration 
of  seasons,  the  shortening  of  men's  lives,  irregularity 
in  the  course  of  moon  and  stars,  and  a  repetition  of  the 
wicked  practices  which  occasioned  the  Flood  of  old.:i 
To  the  same  effect  the  Book  of  Jubilees  looks  forward 
to  a  season  of  abnormal  iniquity  as  the  precursor  of  the 
judgment  day ;  there  shall  be  unnatural  crimes  among 
men,  and  strange  aberrations  in  the  order  of  nature, 
children  rising  up  against  parents,  general  barrenness  in 
earth,  great  destruction  of  the  lower  creatures  in  land  and 
sea,  perversion  of  all  right,  and  universal  strife.4  The 
Fourth  of  Esdras  takes  up  the  same  strain.  As  the 
world  grows  older  it  becomes  weaker  and  more  evil,  men 
degenerate,  truth  flies  away,  leasing  is  hard  at  hand.  Then 
shall  occur  earthquakes,  unrest  and  uproar  among  nations, 
and  various  prodigies  in  heaven  and  earth ;  the  sun  shall 
shine  at  night,  the  moon  in  day ;  blood  shall  ooze  from 
wood  ;  sweet  water  shall  be  changed  to  salt ;  women  shall 
bring  forth  monsters ;  infants  of  tender  age  shall  speak.5 

1  Matt.  xxiv.  3.  2  Lib.  iii.  795  ff. 

3  Chaps,  xci.,  xcix.  4  Book  of  Jub.  chap,  xxiii. 

5  Prof.  Drummond  refers  to  2  Esdr.  v.  1-13,  54  f.,  vi.  7-28,  viii 
63-ix.  6,  xiv.  15-17. 


Many  of  these  portents  are  such  as  one  reads  of 
in  classical  authors ;  some  recall  our  Lord's  predictions, 
or  St.  Paul's  warning  that  "in  the  last  days  perilous 
times  shall  come  "  (2  Tim.  iii.  1).  In  the  Apocalypse 
of  Baruch  the  details  of  the  wickedness  and  calamities 
that  shall  intervene  are  more  distinctly  specified,  being 
divided  into  twelve  parts,  increasing  to  a  climax  of 
horror ;  and  despair  and  destruction  shall  overtake  all 
the  world  with  the  exception  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
holy  land.1  But  throughout  these  books  the  advent  of 
the  second  age  is  to  be  ushered  in  by  extraordinary 
calamities  consequent  on  excessive  moral  evil,  and  char- 
acterised by  an  universal  degeneracy  alike  in  animal  and 
vegetable  life. 

"We  have  now  to  see  what  our  books  say  about  the 
Messiah.  Many  of  them,  indeed,  seem  to  have  no  refer- 
ence whatever  to  Him.  The  writer  of  the  Assump- 
tion of  Moses  expects  the  appearance  of  some  great 
saviour  to  prepare  the  way  for  the  visible  reign  of 
Jehovah ;  but  this  deliverer  is  not  the  Messiah,  and  is. 
in  fact,  not  regarded  as  superior  to  Moses  in  action  or 
person.  In  the  Book  of  Jubilees  the  idea  of  a  personal 
Messiah  is  pointedly  excluded;  God,  says  the  writer,  has 
appointed  no  one  to  reign  over  Israel,  being  Himself 
their  only  Lord  and  Euler,  and  purposing  in  due  time 
to  descend  from  heaven  and  dwell  with  His  people.  The 
writer  seems  purposely  to  have  omitted  the  blessings 
which  Jacob  pronounced  upon  his  sons,  and  especially  all 
mention  of  the  house  of  David,  which  would  naturally 
Tiave  found  place  in  the  benediction  on  Judah.  The 
1  Apoc.  Bar.  chaps,  xxv.-xxvii.,  xlviii.,  Ixx.,  Ixxi. 


Fourth  Book  of  the  Sibylline  Oracles,  which  is  marked  by 
some  eschatological  passages,  omits  all  reference  to  Messiah, 
while  announcing  the  resurrection  and  the  judgment. 
And  we  may  remark  in  passing  that  the  apocryphal 
works  in  our  English  Bible  are  singularly  devoid  of  all 
Messianic  references.  Ecclesiasticus  has  no  trace  of  the 
great  hope;  Wisdom  is  equally  barren;  the  famous  passage 
in  ii.  10-20  of  that  Book,  about  the  treatment  of  the 
righteous  man  by  the  wicked,  having  regard  to  a  class, 
and  certainly  not  alluding  to  any t  particular  individual. 
The  Books  of  Maccabees  look  forward  to  the  re-gathering 
of  Israel  and  the  appearance  of  a  true  prophet,  but 
nothing  more.  In  Tobit  we  find  only  hope  of  the  con- 
version of  the  Gentiles  and  the  restoration  of  Jerusalem ; 
in  Baruch  and  Judith,  though  the  future  judgment  is 
intimated,  absolute  silence  is  maintained  concerning  the 
Messiah's  part  in  that  transaction.  It  is  plain  that  the 
later  conception  of  the  Messiah,  with  all  the  hopes  that 
gathered  round  His  person  and  achievements,  was  not 
generally  admitted  when  most  of  our  books  were  com- 
posed, and  it  was  only  very  gradually  that  the  ideas 
obtained  which  we  have  been  accustomed  to  associate 
therewith.  Though  it  is  difficult  to  fix  the  date  of  most 
of  these  works,  probably  the  earliest  which  contains 
definite  Messianic  statements  is  a  section  of  the  Third 
Book  of  the  Sibylline  Verses,  written  about  a  century 
and  a  half  before  the  Christian  era.  The  passage  which 
is,  probably  correctly,  assumed  to  bear  this  interpretation 
is  the  following : l  "  Then  from  the  sun  God  shall  send  a 
King,  who  shall  cause  all  the  earth  to  cease  from  wicked 
1  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  652  ff. 


war,  killing  indeed  some,  and  making  faithful  treaties 
with  others.  Not  by  His  own  counsels  shall  He  do  all 
these  things,  but  in  obedience  to  the  good  decrees  of  the 
great  God."  Then  follows  a  description  of  the  happy 
condition  that  is  to  ensue ;  but  there  is  no  further 
mention  of  this  King,  and  the  governing  authority  of 
the  new  kingdom  established  by  God  is  not  one  great 
personage,  but  prophets,  who  are  "judges  of  mortals  and 
righteous  kings."  The  subordinate  position  assigned  to 
Messiah  is  very  remarkable ;  He,  indeed,  prepares  the 
way  for  the  great  consummation,  but  He  is  not  said  to 
bear  any  part  in  the  administration  of  the  future  age. 
In  another  passage,1  which  critics  generally  assign  to 
some  half-century  B.C.,  the  advent  of  the  Messiah  is 
immediately  expected.  Thus  the  Sibyl  writes :  "  But 
when  Rome  shall  rule  over  Egypt  also,  uniting  it  into 
one,  then  indeed  the  mighty  kingdom  of  the  immortal 
King  shall  appear  among  men ;  and  there  shall  come  a 
pure  King  to  hold  the  sceptres  of  all  the  earth  for  all' 
ages  as  time  hastens  onward."  Evidently,  it  is  an 
earthly  kingdom  which  this  Monarch  establishes,  and 
this,  it  is  further  intimated,  is  to  come  to  an  end  when 
the  new  era  dawns. 

The  Book  of  Enoch  adumbrates  the  Messiah  in  sym- 
bolical language.  In  the  vision  of  the  seventy  shepherds, 
and  the  sheep  and  wild  animals,  the  Messiah  appears 
under  the  figure  of  a  white  Bull.  The  wording  of 
the  passage  is  ambiguous,  and  the  correct  reading  is 
disputed ;  hence  it  remains  doubtful  to  which  age  the 
Messiah  belongs ;  though  the  analogy  of  other  passages 
1  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  36-92. 


would  place  Him  at  the  entrance  of  the  new  era. 
Enoch  says : l  "  Then  those  three  who  were  clothed  in 
white  raised  me  up  and  placed  me  in  the  midst  of  the 
sheep,  before  the  judgment  took  place 2  .  .  .  and  I  saw 
that  a  white  Bullock  was  born,  having  great  horns,  and  all 
the  beasts  of  the  field  and  all  the  birds  of  heaven  feared 
him,  and  besought  him  continually.  And  I  watched 
till  all  their  tribes  were  changed  and  became  white 
bullocks ;  and  the  first  among  them  [was  the  Word,  and 
the  same  Word]  3  was  a  great  beast,  and  had  great  black 
horns  upon  his  head ;  and  the  Lord  of  the  sheep  rejoiced 
over  them  and  over  all  the  bullocks."  The  personality 
of  this  "  Bullock  "  is  not  very  definite,  and  there  is  no 
allusion  to  descent  from  the  house  of  David ;  but  the 
representation  evidently  embraces  hopes  of  Messiah,  and 
looks  forward,  though  vaguely,  to  the  time  of  His 
appearing.  This  time  is  fixed  more  accurately  in  the 
Fourth  of  Esdras  (vii.  28  ff.),  where  it  is  announced  that 
Messiah  and  the  saints  with  Him  shall  rejoice  four 
hundred  4  years,  and  that  then  he  and  all  men  are  to  die, 
and  silence  reign  for  seven  days,  at  the  end  of  which 
time  "  the  earth  that  yet  awaketh  not  shall  be  raised 
up,  arid  that  which  is  corrupt  shall  die."  So  in  other 
passages,  both  in  Esdras  and  Baruch,  the  dominion  of 
Messiah  is  announced  as  lasting  till  the  final  judgment, 
confined,  as  it  would  seem,  to  the  first,  the  present  age. 

1  Enoch  xc.  31  ff. 

2  Prof.  Drummond  doubts  the  genuineness  of  this   clause,  and 
Dillmann  does  not  hold  it  as  indisputable.     It  is  certainly  incon- 
sistent with  other  statements  in  the  same  passage. 

3  Tlie  words  in  brackets  are  regarded  as  spurious. 

4  The  Syriac  reads  "  thirty."     Churton,  in  loc. 


The  Messiah,  according  to  Enoch,1  is  to  be  bom  at 
Jerusalem ;  meantime  He  is  hidden  till  the  hour  of  His 
revelation  arrives.  In  the  Ascension  of  Isaiah  He  passes 
through  the  seven  heavens  unrecognised,  until  He 
executes  vengeance  on  the  evil  principalities  and  powers, 
and  returns  in  glory  to  the  throne  of  God.  Esdras  sees 
Him  coming  up  from  the  midst  of  the  sea,  which  denotes 
the  mysterious  and  secret  character  of  the  unknown  region 
wherein  He  sojourned,  and  in  due  time  taking  His  stand 
upon  Mount  Zion.2  "  Here,"  says  Baruch,3  "  He  shall 
judge  the  last  leader  of  His  enemies,  and  put  him  to 
death,  and  shall  protect  God's  people  who  are  found  in 
the  place  which  He  has  chosen.  And  His  dominion  shall 
continue  until  the  world  of  corruption  is  brought  to  an 
end,  and  the  predicted  times  are  fulfilled."  Of  the 
Messiah's  descent  from  David  and  His  high  title,  the 
Psalter  of  Solomon  gives  the  clearest  indications. 
"  Behold,  0  Lord,"  says  the  Psalmist,  "  and  raise  up  for 
them  their  King,  the  Son  of  David,  at  the  time  which 
Thou  knowest.  .  .  .  He  is  the  righteous  King  over  them, 
taught  of  God.  There  shall  be  no  injustice  in  His  days 
among  them,  for  they  all  shall  be  holy,  and  their  King 
shall  be  Christ  the  Lord."  •  This  last  expression  seems 
certainly  to  have  been  well  known  before  Christian  times. 

1  Enoch  xc.  36  f. 

2  2  Esdr.  xiii.  26,  35.  3  Apoc.  Bar.  xl. 

4  Ps.  Solom.  xvii.  23,  35,  36.  The  title  is  given  in  the  MSS. 
without  variation  Xp;<n-o£  Kvpiog.  Professor  Drummond  would  read 
Kvpiov.  But  see  xviii.  6,  8,  and  Lam.  iv.  20.  At  the  same  time,  as 
Ewald  points  out,  the  expression  in  the  text  may  possibly  be  a  mis- 
translation for  "  the  Lord's  Christ,"  as  Luke  ii.  26,  and  must  not  be 
taken  as  proving  the  seer's  belief  in  the  Divinity  of  Messiah. 



In  Esdras1  the  name  Christ  is  found  twice  at  least, 
though  in  one  place  it  has  been  changed  by  some  Chris- 
tian hand  into  "  Jesus  ; "  and  '*  unctus,"  the  Anointed, 
also  occurs,  corrupted  in  the  Latin  into  "  ventus,"  the 
"wind;"  but  in  the  other  versions  appearing  with 
an  addition,  "the  Anointed  whom  the  Highest  hath 
reserved  to  the  end  of  the  days,  who  shall  arise  out  of 
the  seed  of  David."  The  title  Messiah  is  constantly 
used  in  Baruch ;  thus  we  read,  "  It  shall  come  to  pass, 
when  that  which  is  to  be  shall  have  been  accomplished 
there,  that  Messiah  shall  begin  to  be  revealed." 2  The 
Book  of  Enoch  has  suffered  so  much  from  glosses  and 
interpolations  that  we  cannot  build  much  upon  isolated 
expressions ;  but,  as  the  text  stands,  the  expression  "  Son 
of  God,"  or  its  equivalent,  is  met  with  in  the  most 
ancient  section  once.  The  Lord  is  represented  as  saying 
(cv.  2),  "I  and  my  Son  will  unite  ourselves  with  them 
[the  sons  of  earth]  for  ever  and  ever."  Nor  can  much 
reliance  be  placed  upon  the  present  text  of  the  Second  of 
Esdras ;  otherwise  the  terms  Messiah  and  Son  of  God 
may  be  observed  in  a  few  passages.3  But  although  we 
grant  that  the  name  and  designation  of  the  Messiah  are 
found  in  these  books,  there  is  very  far  from  being  any 
general  consent  as  to  His  nature  and  attributes.  The 
Catholic  doctrine  concerning  the  Christ  was  as  yet  not 
received,  and  the  speculations  which  were  rife  fell  far 
short  of  the  great  truth.  Whether  many  of  these  writers 
believed  in  the  pre-existence  of  the  Messiah  before  His 

1  2  Esdr.  vii.  28,  29,  xii.  32. 

2  Apoc.  Bar.  xxix.     See  also  xxx.,  xxxix.,  xl.,  Ixx.,  Ixxii. 

3  See  Drummond,  pp.  285  if. 


appearance  on  earth  is  doubtful.  The  author  of  the 
Ascension  of  Isaiah  certainly  did  ;  but  as  the  portion  of 
the  work  containing  the  assertion  is  probably  the  com- 
position of  a  Christian  Jew,  it  cannot  be  quoted  as 
affording  an  instance  of  purely  Jewish  opinion.  The 
expression  in  the  Third  Book  of  the  Sibyllines  already 
cited,  which  represents  the  future  King  as  proceeding 
"  from  the  sun,"  might  seem  to  imply  at  least  a  super- 
natural origin,  denoting  that,  as  the  Creed  says,  "  He 
came  down  from  heaven ; "  but  the  words  (air'  r)e\ioto) 
may  mean  merely  "  from  the  rising  sun,"  i.e.  from  the 
East,  which  to  a  dweller  in  Egypt  would  be  the  land  of 
mystery  and  of  God's  revelations.  In  that  part  of  the 
Book  of  Enoch  which  is  termed  the  Similitudes  or 
Parables,  He  who  is  here  called  "  Son  of  man  "  is  seen  by 
the  seer  in  company  with  the  "  Ancient  of  Days,"  and  is 
expressly  stated  to  have  existed  before  all  worlds,  and  to 
live  before  God  for  ever ;  in  Him  all  wisdom  and  right- 
eousness dwell ;  but  He  is  not  God,  though  of  godlike 
character.  In  another  and  more  ancient  division  of  the 
work,  as  we  have  seen  above,  He  is  figured  under  the 
representation  of  "  a  white  Bull,"  born  in  due  time,  and 
in  no  way  supernaturally  distinguished  from  the  other 
animals  who  assume  the  same  appearance,  though  His 
supremacy  is  recognised  by  them  in  that  they  fear  and 
pray  to  Him.  In  the  Psalter  of  Solomon  the  Messiah  is 
lauded  in  the  highest  terms,  as  mighty  in  word  and  deed, 
a  just  and  powerful  Euler,  who,  living  in  the  fear  of  God, 
shall  feed  the  Lord's  people  in  faith  and  righteousness ; 
but  He  is  not  superhuman,  He  is  only  the  ideal  earthly 
king  of  David's  line.  The  Apocalypse  of  Baruch  speaks 


of  the  "  revelation  of  Messiah  and  of  His  kingdom," l 
which  seems  to  imply  pre-existence ;  but,  as  Professor 
Drummond  points  out,  this  expression,  and  the  analogous 
one  "reserved  "  in  Second  Esdras  (xii.  32,  xiii.  36),  may 
merely  imply  the  belief  that  Messiah  after  His  birth 
should  be  withdrawn  into  concealment,  from  whence  He 
should  emerge  in  due  time ;  or  such  terms  may  be  used 
to  denote  God's  predestination,  and  the  mystery  which 
attached  to  this  heavenly  messenger.  In  fact,  none  of 
these  works  contain  any  clear  assertion  of  the  Divinity 
of  the  Messiah ;  and  the  writers,  while  they  look  upon 
Him  as  abnormal  and  marvellous  and  supreme,  do  not 
attribute  to  Him  a  nature  different  from  that  of  man  in 
its  highest  ideal  character.  We  may  note  that  our  Lord's 
own  disciples  were  very  slow  to  realise  His  Divine  nature, 
while  they  readily  owned  His  Messiahship.  Again  and 
again  Jesus  had  to  reprove  their  dulness  of  apprehension 
and  slowness  of  belief.  Miracles  often  repeated  failed  to 
convey  this  truth  fully  to  their  minds  ;  and  it  needed  the 
Resurrection,  with  all  its  wondrous  accompaniments,  to 
enable  them  fully  to  realise  that  their  Master  was  God 
Almighty.  So  difficult  was  it  for  them  to  rise  superior 
to  prejudice  and  popular  opinion. 

Our  general  view  of  the  pseudepigraphical  books  would 
not  be  complete  without  a  brief  notice  of  their  angelology 
and  eschatology.  The  existence  of  good  and  evil  angels 
is  fully  recognised.  The  former  are  divided  into  various 
orders  and  degrees  ;  in  Enoch  the  names  of  the  arch- 
angels are  given  as  Michael,  Gabriel,  Suriel,  and  Uriel; 
Suriel  elsewhere  appears  as  Raphael.  These  four  have 
1  Chap.  xxix.  3,  xxxix.  7  ;  Drummond,  p.  293. 


their  special  spheres  and  provinces;  and  beside  them  there 
are  myriads  of  inferior  angels  who  stand  before  the  Lord 
of  Spirits,  ready  to  do  His  will.  They  are  archangels 
who  reveal  God's  will  to  Enoch,  and  conduct  him  on  his 
various  journeys.  It  is  the  Angel  of  the  Presence  who 
is  charged  to  transcribe  the  revelation  in  the  Book  of 
Jubilees.  Angels,  according  to  Baruch,  execute  God's 
wrath  in  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  having  first 
committed  to  the  earth  the  veil,  the  mercy-seat,  and 
other  sacred  things  appertaining  to  the  temple.  It  is,  as 
we  have  seen,  from  the  Assumption  of  Moses  that  the 
story  of  the  dispute  between  Michael  and  Satan  over  the 
body  of  Moses  is  derived.  Esdras  receives  his  seven 
visions  by  the  intervention  of  Uriel.  The  Book  of 
Jubilees  states  that  on  the  first  day  of  creation  God  made 
the  ministering  spirits,  the  Angel  of  the  Presence,  the 
Angel  of  Praise,  and  the  angels  that  preside  over  the 
elements,  as  we  find  in  the  Revelation  of  St.  John  mention 
made  of  angels  which  have  power  over  fire  and  water.1 
The  angels  bring  men's  sins  before  God,  execute  His 
vengeance  on  sinners,  teach  mortals  useful  arts  and 
acceptable  worship,  and  communicate  God's  will  by 
dreams  or  visions  or  open  manifestations.  In  the 
Testaments  of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs  the  heavenly  hier- 
archy is  still  more  systematically  arranged,  and  the 
duties  and  offices  of  its  various  members  are  distin- 

The  evil  angels  have  their  ranks  and  orders ;   they  are 
a   disciplined    army   under   chieftains.       At   their  head 
appears   one  who   is   variously  named   Satan,  Sammael, 
1  Kev.  xiv.  18,  xvi.  5. 


Mastema,  Azazel.  Their  fall,  according  to  Enoch,  was 
brought  about  by  their  connection  with  the  daughters  of 
men,  from  whence  sprang  a  race  of  giants  whose  iniquity, 
fostered  by  their  superhuman  fathers,  occasioned  the 
Flood.  These  evil  angels  taught  men  war  and  bloodshed 
and  every  wicked  work,  and  were  punished  by  being 
confined  in  the  depth  of  the  earth  till  the  great  day  of 
judgment,  a  certain  portion  of  them  only  being  allowed 
a  limited  liberty. 

Turning  to  the  eschatological  teaching  of  these  books, 
we  find  that  in  the  last  days,  on  the  appearance  of 
Messiah,  there  will  be  a  great  mustering  of  enemies  to 
oppose  the  establishment  of  the  new  kingdom.  Here  we 
have  the  curious  myth  of  the  return  to  life  of  Nero, 
who,  under  the  name  of  Beliar,  is  to  lead  the  armies  of 
Antichrist.1  At  other  times  this  leader  is  not  definitely 
named.  In  Baruch  (chap,  xl.)  he  is  called  merely  "  dux 
ultimus,"  who,  as  we  have  seen  above,  is  to  be  brought 
to  Mount  Zion  and  there  put  to  death  by  the  victorious 
Messiah.  But  it  is  not  always  the  Messiah  who  con- 
ducts the  war;  God  Himself  interposes  in  the  Sibyl's 
account,2  and  Enoch  predicts  the  great  destruction  of 
Israel's  enemies  before  the  advent  of  Messiah,  and  exults 
in  their  cruel  annihilation.3  Whether  by  the  action  of 
Messiah,  or  by  the  immediate  intervention  of  the  Lord, 
it  is  universally  agreed  that  the  assembled  foes  of  Israel 
shall  meet  with  signal  overthrow,  and  that,  at  this  "  con- 
summation," the  kingdom  of  Messiah  shall  be  established. 
This  kingdom  is  to  have  its  centre  at  Jerusalem,  under 

1  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  63  ff.,  iv.  137  ff. 

2  Ibid.  iii.  669  ff.  8  Enoch  xc.,  xcviii.,  xcix. 


the  personal  rule  of  Messiah,  who  is  the  vicegerent  of 
God,1  and  is  to  extend  over  all  Cations,  and  to  be  char- 
acterised by  righteousness,  peace,  and  plenty.  The 
material  blessings  of  this  reign  are  picturesquely  deline- 
ated in  the  Sibylline  Verses  and  elsewhere ; 2  the  earth 
shall  be  marvellously  productive,  men's  lives  shall  be 
prolonged  to  a  thousand  years  without  disease  or  in- 
firmity. The  duration  of  this  kingdom  is  considered  in 
most  of  our  books  to  be  unlimited ;  Esdras  alone  confines 
its  length  to  four  hundred  years,  and  Baruch  says  vaguely 
that  it  shall  be  continued  until  the  world  of  corruption 
be  ended.  Whether  the  Gentiles  should  be  converted 
was  a  question  not  answered  in  a  uniform  mariner ; 
while  the  writers  with  Hellenistic  leanings  took  a  merci- 
ful view,  the  exaggerated  prejudices  of  others  led  them 
to  anticipate  with  satisfaction  the  total  annihilation  of 
the  heathen.  The  Sibyl  looks  forward  to  a  time  when 
the  sight  of  the  happiness  and  prosperity  of  the  God- 
fearing Israelites  will  move  alien  nations  to  repentance,s 
whilst  the  Psalmist  brings  the  heathen  under  the  yoke 
of  the  chosen  race,  and  holds  out  to  them  no  hope  of 
salvation.4  Of  the  resurrection  and  the  final  judgment 
we  have  varying  accounts,  there  being  also  a  dissidence 
in  the  opinion  as  to  the  epochs  in  which  these  events 
should  take  place ;  some  writers  allotting  the  judgment 
to  the  time  of  Messiah's  appearing,  others  looking  for  it 

1  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  652  ff. ;    Psalm.  Sol.  xvii. ;    Drummond,  pp. 
809  ff. 

2  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  743  ff.,  776  ff.  ;   Enoch  x.  17  ff.,  xi.  1.  ;    Apoc. 
Bar.  xxix. ;  Jubil.  xxiii. 

3  Orac.  Sibyll.  iii.  702  ff. ;  comp.  Enoch  x.  21,  xc.  30  ff. 

4  Psalm.  Sol.  xvii.  25  ff. ;  comp.  Apoc.  Bar.  Ixxii. 


at  the  close  of  that  period,  and  as  ushering  in  eternity. 
The  latter  view  is  that  which  most  generally  prevailed. 
The  Book  of  Enoch  gives  copious  details  concerning  the 
future  life  and  the  judgment.  The  Lord  sits  on  a 
throne  erected  in  the  midst  of  Palestine,  and  passes 
judgment  respectively  on  the  fallen  angels,  the  apostate 
Israelites,  and  the  heathen  powers.  The  souls  of  the 
dead  have  a  place  where  they  wait  for  their  sentence, 
and  are  here  divided  into  classes  according  to  their 
earthly  actions,  accounts  of  which  have  been  daily 
written  down  in  the  heavenly  books;  and  now  they 
shall  receive  their  reward — unalterable  punishment  in 
the  case  of  obstinate  sinners,  and  eternal  felicity  in  the 
case  of  the  righteous.  The  resurrection  of  the  body  is 
nowhere  expressly  affirmed,  though  it  is  implied  by  the 
material  nature  of  the  penalties  and  the  bliss  accorded 
to  the  raised  persons.  There  seems  to  have  been  no 
definite  belief  in  a  bodily  resurrection,  though  a  resur- 
rection of  some  kind  was  universally  expected,  and  blind 
gropings  after  the  great  Christian  doctrine  are  occasionally 
found ;  but  the  general  impression  conveyed  by  these 
apocryphal  books  is  that  the  immortality  enunciated 
therein  is  incorporeal ;  and,  as  regards  the  righteous,  the 
idea  is  that  they  shall  be  changed  into  angelic  beings 
with  the  power  of  assuming  any  form  they  please.1 

The  above  are  the  chief  points  of  interest  in  the 
Jewish  Pseudepigraphic  writings  ;  more  definite  details 
and  notices  of  incidental  matters  appertain  more  pro- 
perly to  the  separate  accounts  of  the  various  works 
which  are  classed  under  this  designation. 
1  Apoc.  Bar.  li. 



AMONG  the  apocryphal  literature  of  the  Old  Testament 
which  has  been  preserved  to  our  time,  the  eighteen 
Psalms  of  Solomon,  so  called,  are  an  interesting  monu- 
ment of  later  Judaism,  giving  glimpses  of  contemporary 
history  and  breathing  Messianic  hopes.  Excluded  from 
our  English  version  of  the  Bible,  they  have  been  remark- 
ably neglected  in  this  country,  and  very  few  students 
have  taken  the  trouble  of  mastering  this  important 
remnant  of  antiquity.  Germany  has  dealt  otherwise 
with  them.  For  the  last  thirty  years  critics  in  that 
country  have  been  investigating  their  origin,  assigning 
their  date,  settling  the  text,  examining  the  contents  ;  so 
that  we  can  enter  upon  the  study  of  them  with  a  critical 
and  exegetical  apparatus  which  a  few  years  ago  was 
unattainable.  They  were  never  included  in  the  Canon- 
ical Scriptures  of  the  Jews,  though  known  to  early 
authors,  and  occurring  in  several  catalogues  of  Scripture. 
The  Alexandrine  Manuscript  of  the  Greek  Bible,  indeed, 
inserted  them  at  the  end  of  the  volume,  a  fact  which 


probably  proves  that  they  were  used  in  Divine  worship 
in  the  Eastern  Church  ;  but  where  they  are  named,  they 
are  included  among  the  Antilegomena,  and  are  apparently 
debarred  from  the  Canon  by  the  Council  of  Laodicea.1 
In  the  Stichometria  of  Nicephorus,  and  in  the  Synopsis 
Athanasii,  they  are  classed  with  the  J3ooks  of  "Wisdom, 
Ecclesiasticus,  Maccabees,  and  other  Apocrypha  ;  in  other 
lists  they  come  in  the  same  category  as  Enoch,  the 
Twelve  Patriarchs,  the  Apocalypses  of  Moses,  etc.  Being 
thus  thrust  aside  in  early  times,  they  seem  to  have  met 
with  little  attention,  and  to  have  been  seldom  transcribed. 
Hence  the  manuscripts  which  exhibited  them  were  very 
few,  and  modern  investigation  has  not  discovered  many 
fresh  sources  of  information  about  them.  Most  unfor- 
tunately the  leaves  of  the  Alexandrine  Codex,  now  in 
the  British  Museum,  which  once  contained  them,  have 
perished,  so  that  we  are  forced  to  rely  on  a  late  and 
inferior  document  for  the  exposition  and  correction  of 
the  text.  The  Editio  Princeps  of  De  la  Cerda  was 
printed  from  a  MS.  brought  from  Constantinople  in 
the  year  1615,  which  was  once  in  the  Augsburg  Library, 
but  has  now  disappeared.  Three  other  MSS.  known  to 
exist  have  not  been  used  in  editing  the  work.  Indeed, 
the  only  manuscript  made  available  is  a  cursive  of  the 

1  Syn.  of  Laodicea,  Can.  59  :   ort  ov  B 

tv  TV  IxxAw'ix.      Zonaras  and   Balsamon   explain  the  term  l 
.   thus  :    ix,ro$  ruv   pv'   i^<x,\u.uv  rov  Asc/3<S  tvpicrxovToii  x,xt 

i  roi>  "Sohoftauro;  sivoti  x.eti  oiT-Jhtov  TIVUV,  ov;  x,otl  Hitunxov; 
oi  KetTtps;  x.oe.1  py  'hkywQot.i  SH  TYI  tKX^Yia'nx,  ^(SToi^otVTQ.  They 
are  mentioned  among  the  Apocrypha  or  Antilegomena  in  the  Cata- 
logue of  "The  Sixty  Books"  (ap.  Westcott,  Can.  of  N.  T.,  Append. 
D.  xvii.). 


tenth  century,  Codex  Vindobonensis,1  called  "  V "  in 
Fritzsche's  edition,  and  now  in  the  Eoyal  Library  of 
Vienna.  In  this  our  Psalms  are  found  between  the 
Book  of  Wisdom  and  Ecclesiasticus.  The  title  prefixed 
to  the  once  existing  Augsburg  MS.  was  WAATHPION 
SAAOMftNTOS,  and  at  the  end  occurred  the  colophon 
"*Fa\fjLol  Sa\ojjt,£)VTO$  tij.  €%ovcrtv  eTrrj  a'  TeXo?  avv 
@eo).  But  the  author  himself  never  claims  to  be  the 
son  of  David,  and  the  various  headings,  now  found  in 
the  Psalter,  which  attribute  the  Psalms  to  Solomon,  are 
without  dispute  the  work  of  later  hands.  The  writer 
speaks  of  himself  sometimes,  e.g.  Ps.  i.  3  :  "I  reasoned 
in  my  heart  that  I  was  filled  with  righteousness,  because 
I  was  prosperous  and  had  become  mighty  in  children  ; " 
Ps.  ii.  35:  "  Eaising  me  up  unto  glory."  But  even 
if  these  and  such-like  passages  assumed  more  plainly 
than  they  do  Solomonic  authorship,  they  would  show 
merely  that  the  poet,  like  the  writer  of  the  Book  of 
Wisdom,  appropriated  the  name  of  Solomon  for  literary 
purposes,  with  no  idea  of  deceiving  his  readers  or  causing 
them  to  give  credence  to  so  transparent  a  fallacy.  Or, 
very  possibly,  the  name  of  Solomon  did  not  occur  in  the 
original  title ;  but,  as  the  Psalter  became  well  known 
and  used,  because  it  could  not  be  ascribed  to  David,  or 
included  in  the  canonical  Psalm- Book,  it  was  honoured 
with  the  name  of  Solomon  in  later  times,  and  reached 
the  early  Christian  writers  under  that  designation.  The 
fact  that  in  1  Kings  iv.  32  Solomon  is  said  to  have 

1  Codex  Gr.  Theol.  7.  It  is  described  by  Hilgenfeld  (Zeitschr. 
1868,  p.  136),  who  considers  it  superior  in  correctness  to  the  Augs 
burg  MS. 


composed  "  a  thousand  and  five  songs  "  (aSal 
X&MU,  Sept.),  gave  a  colouring  to  the  assumed  author- 
ship, and  in  uncritical  times,  when  historical  allusions 
were  little  investigated  or  weighed,  the  name  gained  an 
unquestioned  currency. 

The  references  to  the  Book  in  early  writers  are  few 
and  uncertain.  In  the  Stichoraetria  of  Nicephorus  it  is 
named,  as  we  have  said,  among  the  Antilegomena  of  the 
Old  Testament :  to  the  same  category  it  is  relegated  in 
the  Synopsis  Sacrce  Scriptures  appended  to  the  works  of 
St.  Athanasius,  the  date  of  which  is  doubtful,  and  which 
may  possibly  be  founded  upon  the  Catalogue  of  Nice- 
phorus.1 Schiirer  thinks  it  was  included  under  the 
category  of  Antilegomena  simply  owing  to  its  absence 
from  the  Hebrew  Canon,  position  in  that  list  being  the 
criterion  which  guided  the  formal  reception  of  writings ; 
while  in  the  Christian  Church  it  was  regarded  in  some 
quarters  with  greater  favour.  Five  Odes  of  Solomon 
are  quoted  in  the  curious  Gnostic  book  of  the  third 
century  A.D.,  Pistis  Sophia ; 2  and  St.  Jerome  writing 
against  Vigilantius  (cap.  vi.)  may  possibly  refer  to  the 
Psalter  when  he  says  :  "  Nam  in  commentariolo  tuo  quasi 
pro  te  faciens  de  Salomone  sumis  testimonium,  quod 
Salomon  omnino  non  scripsit,  ut,  qui  habes  alterum 
Esdram,  habeas  et  Salomonem  alterum."  The  "  Second 
Esdras  "  means  a  passage  in  the  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras 

1  In  both  of  these  lists  we  find  the  title  \}/ec\u,ot  xal  uly  S&AO^J/TO?  ; 
the  latter  adding  ari'wt  ftp  =  2100.     The  Synopsis  is  in  vol.  ii.  p.  154 
of  the  Bened.  edition  of  Athanasius.     The  Catalogue  of  Nicephorus 
is  given  in  App.  xix.  of  Canon  Westcott's  work  on  The  Canon  of  the 
New  Testament. 

2  Ed.  Schwartze  et  Peterman,  Berlin  1851. 


(vi.  81,  ap.  Fritz.)1  implying  the  inexpediency  of  certain 
prayers  for  the  dead ;  the  "  Second  Solomon  "  may  per- 
haps indicate  the  following  words  :  "  Therefore  this  is  their 
inheritance,  Hades,  and  darkness,  and  destruction ;  and 
they  shall  not  be  found  in  the  day  of  the  mercy  of  the 
righteous  "  (Ps.  xiv.  G)  ;  "  for  their  iniquities  shall  make 
the  houses  of  sinners  desolate,  and  sinners  shall  perish  in 
the  day  of  the  Lord's  judgment  for  ever  and  ever  "  (xv. 
13).  Lactantius2  more  than  once  quotes  passages  from 
Solomon  which  do  not  occur  in  the  Canonical  Scriptures, 
and  are  supposed  to  have  been  once  comprehended 
among  these  Psalms,  though  no  longer  extant  in  our 

1  vii.  105,  p.  98,  in  Canon  Churton's  very  useful  work,  lately 
published,  The  Uncanonical  and  Apocryphal  Scriptures,  London  1884. 
It  is  called  the  Second  Book  of  Esdras  in  the  Anglican  Version. 
The  Latin  runs  :  "  Tune  noil  poterit  quis  lit  deprecetur  pro  aliquo 
in  illo  die."  Another  allusion  to  the  same  passage  is  made  by 
Jerome,  Adv.  Vigilant,  c.  10:  "Tu  vigilans  dormis  et  dormiens 
scribis  et  propinas  mihi  librum  apocryphum,  qui  sub  nomine  Esdrje 
a  te  et  similibns  tui  legitur,  ubi  scriptnm  est,  quod  post  mortem 
nullus  pro  aliis  gaudeat  deprecari ;  quern  ego  librum  nunquam 

a  Dimn.  Instit.  lib.  iv.  18:  "Solomon,  films  ejus  qui  Hierosoly- 
inam  condidit,  earn  ipsam  perituram  esse  in  ultionem  sanctoe  crucis 
prophetavit:  'Quod  si  avertimini  a  me,  dicit  Dominus,  et  noil 
custodieritis  veritatem  meam,  rejiciain  Israel  a  terra  quam  dedi 
illis  ;  et  domum  hanc,  quam  sedificavi  illis  in  nomine  meo,  projiciam 
illam  ex  omnibus  ;  et  erit  Israel  in  perditionem  et  in  improperium 
populo  ;  et  domus  haec  erit  deserta  ;  et  omnis  qui  transibit  per  illam 
admirabitur  et  dicet :  Propter  quam  rem  fecit  Dominus  terrae  huic  et 
huic  domui  hsec  mala  ?  Et  dicent :  Quia  reliquerunt  Dominum 
Deum  suum,  et  persecuti  sunt  regem  suum  dilectissimum  Deo,  et 
cruciaverunt  ilium  in  humilitate  magna,  propter  hoc  importavit  illis 
Deus  mala  hsec.' " — On  the  last  part  of  this  passage  the  commentator 
(ap.  Migne,  vi.  p.  509)  remarks  :  "  Hsec  nescio  ex  qua  traditione 
adjecit,  quorum  nulla  1  Reg.  ix.  aut  2,  Paralip.  vii.  vestigia  apparent." 


The  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras,  which  appears  to  have 
been  written  towards  the  end  of  the  first  Christian 
century,  contains  many  passages  which  are  possibly 
derived  from  the  Psalter.  Some  of  these  have  been 
collected  by  Hilgenfeld  in  his  edition  of  our  Book,  and 
are  sufficiently  apposite.  Ps.  viii.  34  :  "  Gather  together 
the  dispersion  of  Israel  with  mercy  and  kindness."  Hid. 
xi.  3  :  "  Stand  on  high,  Jerusalem,  and  see  thy  children 
gathered  once  from  the  east  and  west  by  the  Lord. 
They  come  from  the  north  in  the  joy  of  their  God ;  from 
the  isles  afar  off  God  gathered  them  together."  4  Esdr. 
i.  38  :  "See  thy  people  coming  from  the  east."  Hid. 
xiii.  39:  "Thou  hast  seen  Him  gathering  to  Himself 
another  multitude  in  pkace." — Ps.  ix.  18:  "Thou,  0 
Lord,  hast  put  Thy  name  upon  us."  4  Esdr.  iv.  *25: 
"  What  wilt  Thou  do  to  Thy  name  which  is  invoked  upon 
us  ? "  Ibid.  x.  22:"  Thy  name  which  is  invoked  upon 
us  hath  been  profaned." — Ps.  xvii.  19:"  They  wandered 
in  deserts  to  save  their  souls  from  evil."  4  Esdr. 
xiii.  41  f . :  "They  determined  to  leave  the  multitude  of 
nations,  and  to  go  to  a  distant  region,  there  to  observe 
their  own  laws." — Ps.  xvii.  36:  "Their  king  shall  be 
Christ  the  Lord."  4  Esdr.  vii.  28:  "My  son  Jesus 
shall  be  revealed  with  those  who  are  with  him." — Ps. 
xvii.  37:  "  He  shall  not  trust  in  horse  and  rider  and 
bow,  nor  shall  he  multiply  to  himself  gold  and  silver  for 
war,  nor  put  his  hopes  in  arms  (oV-Xot?,  Fr.)  for  the  day 
of  battle."  4  Esdr.  xiii.  9  :  "  Lo,  when  he  saw  the 
onset  of  the  host  coming  against  him,  he  raised  not  his 
hand,  nor  held  the  shield,  nor  any  weapon  of  war." — Ps. 
xviii.  4 :  "  Thy  chastisement  shall  be  upon  us  as  a  first- 


born  only-begotten  son."  4  Esdr.  vi.  58:  "We  Thy 
people,  whom  Thou  hast  called  Thy  first  -  born  only- 
begotten  son." 

There  is  one  passage  of  the  Psalter  (xvii.  5)  which  is 
found  in  the  Testaments  of  the  Tivdve  Patriarchs,  that 
curious  production  of  early  Jewish  Christianity.  It 
occurs  in  the  Testament  of  Judah,  §  22  :  "  For  the  Lord 
sware  with  an  oath  unto  me  that  my  crown  shall  not 
fail  from  my  seed,  all  the  days,  for  ever."  In  the 
Psalter :  "  Thou  swarest  to  him  concerning  his  seed  for 
ever,  that  his  crown  should  not  fail  before  thee."  1  In 
the  New  Testament  no  certain  intimation  occurs  that 
the  work  was  known  to  the  inspired  writers.  The  only 
passage  which  bears  a  close  likeness  to  a  verse  in  the 
gospel  is  in  Ps.  v.  4 :  "  One  cannot  take  spoils  from  a 
strong  man,"  which  is  parallel  to  Mark  xii.  29:"  How 
can  one  enter  into  a  strong  man's  house  and  spoil  his 
goods  ? " 

On  the  other  hand,  founded  as  it  is  on  the  model  of 
the  Old  Testament,  the  Psalter  is  replete  with  references 
to  and  citations  from  the  Canonical  Scriptures.  To 
rehearse  these  would  be  to  transcribe  a  large  portion  of 
the  whole  work.  But  it  is  noteworthy  that  what  we  call 
Apocryphal  Books  are  not  unknown  to  our  author.  And 
this  is  the  more  remarkable  in  the  case  of  a  work  written, 
as  is  justly  supposed,  in  Palestine  and  in  the  Hebrew 
language ;  since  it  shows  how  widely  extended  was  the 

1  Ps.  xvii.  5  :  x.oe.1  av  af^oactg  uvrcf  irspl  rw  aTrepftotTOt  OIVTOV  tig  rov 
etiayot,  TOV  fty  iKhiiit'tiv  d^kystvri  aov  fiavfatioy  KVTOV.  Test.  XII.  Pair. 
v.  22  :  opxu  yotp  apoat  ftoi  xvpto$  fty  extetyefv  TO  fiaathetov  tuov  Ix,  rov 
ftov  irottru;  rotg  ijj&ipots  sa$ 


influence  of  that  literature  which  grew  up  after  the  close 
of  the  Canon  of  the  Old  Testament.  There  are  re- 
miniscences of,  if  not  quotations  from,  the  Book  of 
Wisdom  in  the  Psalter.  Thus  in  Ps.  xvi.  8  the  epithet 
"  unprofitable  "  (ai>&x£eXoi)?)  applied  to  sin  seems  to  recall 
the  word  in  Wisd.  i.  11:  "  Beware  of  unprofitable 
murmuring."  In  Ps.  viii.  11  and  in  Wisd.  i.  16  the 
making  a  compact  (o-vveOevro  crvvOqfcas)  with  sin  and 
death  is  common  to  both.  "  The  right  hand  of  the  Lord 
sheltered  (eV/ceVac-e)  me  .  .  .  the  arm  of  the  Lord  saved 
us,"  says  the  Psalter  (xiii.  1).  "With  His  right  hand 
shall  He  shelter  (o-fceTrdcrei)  them,  and  with  His  arm 
shall  He  protect  them,"  says  Wisd.  v.  1  6.  "  God  is  a 
righteous  judge,  and  will  not  reverence  persons  (Oav/jiaaet, 
TTpocrwTrov)"  Ps.  ii.  19.  "  The  Lord  of  all  will  not  cower 
before  persons  (vTroo-reXeiTai,  irpoatoTrov)"  Wisd.  vi.  8. 
The  use  of  the  very  uncommon  word  evardOeia  in  Ps. 
iv.  11,  vi.  7,  is  probably  due  to  a  reminiscence  of 
Wisd.  vi.  26.  Wisd.  v.  23  :  "Iniquity  shall  lay  waste 
(epijfjLtocrei  .  .  .  avofju'a)  the  whole  earth,"  may  be  com- 
pared with  Ps.  xvii.  13:"  The  sinner  wasted  (rjpijficocrev 
6  avofjios1)  their  land."  The  phrase,  "Man  and  his 
portion  are  with  thee  by  weight  (ev  errata)),"  is  verbally 
like,  though  differing  in  intention  from,  the  famous 
passage  in  Wisd.  xi.  21:  "Thou  orderest  all  things  by 
measure,  number,  and  weight."  The  touching  appeal  in 
Wisd.  xv.  2  :  "  For  even  if  we  sin,  we  are  Thine,"  finds 
its  echo  in  Ps.  ix.  16:  "  Behold,  and  pity  us,  0  God  of 
Israel,  for  we  are  Thine  ;  "  and  the  idea,  as  well  as  the 

1  The  MSS.  give  otvepog;  but  oivopos  is  an  almost  certain  emenda- 
tion of  Ewald. 


wording,  of  Ps.  xiii.  8  :  "  He  will  admonish  (vovQerijaei) 
the  righteous  man  as  the  son  of  His  love,"  is  closely 
parallel  with  those  of  Wisd.  xi.  10:  "  These  as  a  father 
admonishing  (vovOerwv)  Thou  didst  prove."  Between  Ps. 
xi.  and  the  fifth  chapter  of  Baruch  there  are  many  close 
parallelisms ;  but  the  latter  is  probably  the  borrower. 

Whilst  we  can  trace  the  language  and  conceptions  of 
the  Psalter  in  a  great  measure  to  preceding  Scriptures, 
we  can  yet  claim  for  the  author  an  originality  for  the 
manner  in  which  he  has  developed  and  built  upon  the 
hints  therein  given,  and  from  the  outline  of  the  prophets 
has  presented  a  fairly  complete  picture  of  the  ideal  sou 
of  David.  A  few  words  must  first  be  said  concerning 
the  text  and  the  date  of  the  original  work ;  and  then 
some  extracts  will  show  the  pseudo-Solomon's  views  on 
various  matters  of  the  highest  interest  to  all  who  desire 
to  acquaint  themselves  with  the  progress  of  Jewish 

The  revived  interest  in  this  little  Book  arose  from  the 
importance  attributed  to  it  by  Ewald  in  his  history  of 
the  Jewish  Church ;  and  although,  as  we  shall  show,  we 
think  that  his  view  of  the  date  of  its  production  is 
erroneous,  the  learned  world  is  largely  indebted  to  him 
for  raising  a  discussion  which  has  contributed  greatly  to 
our  knowledge  of  the  contents  and  bearing  of  the  work. 
Among  other  points  which  have  been  established  may  be 
mentioned  that  of  the  unity  of  the  Psalter.  Of  course 
German  ingenuity  has  endeavoured  to  trace  the  hands  of 
various  authors  in  the  work ;  but  the  identity  of  ideas, 
the  similarity  of  language  and  phrases,  the  homogeneous- 
ness  of  the  composition,  show  that  the  writer  is  one, 



though  he  may  have  uttered  his  songs  at  different  periods 
and  under  varying  circumstances.  He  is  thoroughly 
imbued  with  the  Hebraic  spirit,  and  has  framed  his 
Psalms  on  the  Biblical  model,  proving  how  this  form  of 
poetry  endured  to  the  latest  times  of  the  Jewish  polity. 
Stichometrically  written,  the  Psalter  affords  a  fair  speci- 
men of  Hebrew  lyrics  in  their  declining  days ;  and,  if  we 
may  judge  by  the  occasional  introduction  of  the  musical 
term  "Diapsalma"  (xvii.  31,  xviii.  10),  the  words  were 
intended  to  be  used  in  Divine  service.  The  Psalter,  as 
we  have  mentioned,  was  first  published  by  La  Cerda  in 
his  Adversaria  Sacra  (Lugd.  1626),  from  an  Augsburg 
MS.,  which  has  since  been  lost.1  The  same  text,  with 
the  addition  of  a  few  notes  of  no  great  value,  was  repeated 
by  Fabricius  in  his  Codex  PseudepigrapJms  V.  Test.  (Hamb. 
1713).  A  careful  revision  of  the  text,  aided  by  an 
additional  MS.,  was  made  by  Hilgenfeld,  and  printed  in 
Zeitschrift  fur  wisscnschaft.  Theol.  1868,  and  in  Messias 
Judceorum  libris  eornm  illustratus  (Lips.  1869).  Another 
edition,  with  a  commentary  by  Geiger  (Der  Psalter 
Salomos),  appeared  in  1871  ;  and  the  same  year  saw 
Fritzsche's  Libri  Apocryplii  Vet.  Test.,  which  contains  a 
revised  text  with  various  readings.  The  only  English 
editions  which  I  have  met  with  are  a  translation  of  the 
Psalms  in  the  first  volume  of  W.  Whiston's  Authentic^ 
Records  (London  1727),  and  one  by  Pick  in  the  Presby- 
terian Review,  October  1883. 

That  the  Greek  text,  which  alone  is  extant,  is  not  the 

1  This  manuscript  came  originally  from  Constantinople.  How  it 
was  lost  cannot  now  be  ascertained.  It  is  not  even  mentioned  in 
the  existing  Catalogue  of  the  Augsburg  MSS.,  Hilgenf.  p.  135. 


original  work,  but  a  translation  from  the  Hebrew  or 
Aramaic,  seems  to  be  tolerably  certain.  The  diction  is 
thoroughly  Hebraic,  and  the  idioms  of  that  language  are 
too  closely  represented  for  it  to  have  been  the  work  of 
one  writing  Greek  hymns  of  his  own  composition.  And 
wherever  the  translator  may  have  lived,  the  author  seems 
to  have  been' a  native  of  Palestine. 

But  if  the  language  and  locality  of  the  original  work 
may  be  regarded  as  ascertained,  the  date  of  the  writer  is 
a  difficult  question,  and  one  that  has  been  the  subject  of 
much  controversy.  Winston  boldly  cuts  the  knot  by 
asserting  that  the  author  is  a  certain  Solomon  who  is 
mentioned  in  the  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras  l  as  rebuilding 
Jerusalem  and  restoring  the  true  worship,  after  the 
Persian  captivity,  about  the  thirtieth  year  of  Artaxerxes 
Mnemon,  i.e.  B.C.  375.  This  assertion  has  no  support 
external  or  internal,  and  has  been  maintained  by  no 
scholar  of  eminence.  The  controversy  really  lies  between 
those  who  refer  the  work  to  the  time  of  Antiochus 
Epiphanes  and  those  who  assign  it  to  the  days  of  Herod 
or  of  Pompey.  The  determination  depends  entirely  upon 
internal  evidence  ;  and  we  all  know  how  uncertain  this 
is,  and  how  prone  are  critics  to  read  their  own  views  into 
the  words  upon  which  they  build  their  argument.  This 
is  very  evident  in  the  present  case.  Ewald  and  others, 
who  adopt  the  Maccabsean  period  as  the  date,  found  their 
theory  especially  on  the  language  of  Ps.  i.  ii.  and  xvii. 
In  these  passages  the  poet  utters  his  lamentation  over 
the  oppression  of  his  people,  complains  urgently  of  the 
heathen  who  lord  it  over  Israel,  and  expresses  a  hope 
1  4  Esdr.  x.  46. 


that  God  would  raise  up  from  another  race  one  to  be 
their  saviour.1  Prom  these  same  passages  other  critics 
argue  for  the  era  of  Pompey  ;  and  indeed  the  expressions 
suit  either  period.  Some  other  criteria  therefore  must 
be  found  in  order  to  settle  the  much  disputed  date. 

Without  entering  at  length  into  the  historical  question, 
we  will  just  note  the  aspect  of  affairs  represented  in  the 
Psalter,  and  then  compare  it  with  the  events  in  Jewish 
history  to  which  it  seems  most  closely  to  correspond.2 
The  work  opens  with  the  bitter  cry  of  the  Hebrews 
oppressed  by  the  sudden  attack  of  an  enemy  (i.  1,  2)  ;  a 
generation  to  which  no  promise  of  David's  throne  had 
been  made  had  seized  the  royal  crown  (xvii.),  and 
triumphed  in  the  subjection  of  the  nation.  But  Israel 
had  been  guilty  of  grievous  sin  ;  king,  judge,  and  people 
alike  were  involved  in  the  offence  ;  and  they  were  justly 
punished  by  intestine  war  and  other  calamities.  These 
troubles  were  repressed  by  inviting  foreign  aid  ;  a  man 
of  another  stock  rose  up  against  them  (xvii.)  ;  and  the 
infatuated  people  met  the  foreigner  with  joy  (viii.),  opened 
the  gates  and  bade  him  enter  in  peace.  And  this  stranger 
from  the  ends  of  the  earth  entered  in  friendly  guise,  as  a 
father  visits  the  house  of  his  sons  ;  but  after  he  had 
secured  himself,  he  broke  down  the  walls  with  the 

1  Ps.  xvii.  9  :   xi/6pa7rov  dhhorpioy  yivov;  v)tu.ay  (qpiruv,  A).     For  the 
unmeaning  qptruv  Ewald  would  read  qpauv,  and  explain  "  the  race  of 
heroes  "  to  be  that  of  Alexander. 

2  I  here  gladly  acknowledge  my  obligations  to  M'Clintock   and 
Strong's  Cyclopaedia,  art.  "  Psalter  of  Solomon,"  to  Hilgenfeld's  edition 
of  the  Psalter  in  his  Zeitschrift,  1868,  pp.  133  if.,  and  to  that  of  Geiger 
(Augsb.  1871)  ;  also  to  Langen's  Das  Judenthum  inPaltist.  (Freiburg, 
1866),  and  to  Wittichen's  Die  Idee  des  Reiches  Gottes  (Gottingen  1872), 
pp.  155  if. 


battering-ram  (ii.  1),  seized  on  the  towers,  poured  out 
the  blood  of  the  inhabitants  like  water.  Jerusalem  was 
trodden  down  by  the  Gentiles,  the  altar  profaned,  of  the 
prominent  men  some  were  put  to  death,  many  were  made 
captives  and  sent  as  slaves  into  the  far  west.  But  retri- 
bution followed.  The  Dragon  who  took  Jerusalem  was 
himself  slain  in  Egypt,  his  body  cast  forth  on  the  shore, 
dishonoured  and  unburied. 

Now,  though  isolated  expressions  in  the  Psalter  suit 
events  that  happened  at  various  dates  of  Jewish  history, 
yet,  taking  the  references  as  a  whole,  and  especially 
regarding  the  mention  of  the  chief  oppressor's  fate,  we 
cannot  forego  the  conclusion  that  the  poet  has  before  his 
eyes  the  actions  and  death  of  Pompey.  On  the  decease 
of  Hyrcanus  I.,  B.C.  106,  his  son  Aristobulus  seized  the 
supreme  power  and  assumed  the  title  of  king.  He  was 
succeeded  by  Alexander  Jannreus,  his  brother,  who, 
attaching  himself  strongly  to  the  Sadducaic  faction,  would 
be  considered  by  the  Pharisees  (to  which  sect  the  pseudo- 
Solomon  evidently  belongs)  as  an  enemy  and  a  sinner. 
Besides  this,  being  an  Asmonrcan,  and  not  of  the  family 
of  David,  he  had  usurped  a  throne  to  which  he  had  no 
just  claim.  A  civil  war  ensued,  and  great  atrocities  were 
committed.  Jannams  died  B.C.  79;  and  then  arose  a 
contest  for  the  sovereignty  between  his  two  sons,  Hyr- 
canus II.  and  Aristobulus — the  former  a  partisan  of  the 
Pharisees,  the  latter  of  the  Sadducees.  These  intestine 
calamities  might  justly  have  been  regarded  as  a  punish- 
ment for  the  laxity  which  had  been  allowed  and  fostered 
of  late.  Gentile  customs  were  introduced,  mixed  marriages 
permitted,  and  a  general  corruption  of  morals  followed  as 


a  necessary  consequence.  In  the  midst  of  these  domestic 
troubles,  and  when  Hyrcanus,  having  defeated  Aristobulus 
with  the  aid  of  Aretas,  king  of  Arabia,  was  besieging 
him  in  the  temple  at  Jerusalem,  news  arrived  that  the 
victorious  Eonian  general,  Pompey,  was  advancing  on  the 
city.  Both  brothers  sent  ambassadors  to  secure  his  aid ; 
but  Pompey  deferred  his  decision,  and  Aristobulus,  pre- 
suming that  it  would  be  unfavourable  to  his  interest, 
shut  himself  up  in  the  temple  fortress  and  prepared  for 
a  siege.  Hyrcanus,  on  the  other  hand,  received  the 
Roman  with  every  demonstration  of  joy — throwing  open 
to  him  the  gates  of  the  city,  and  putting  it  entirely  at 
his  disposal.  Pompey  sent  for  his  military  engines  from 
Tyre,  and  besieged  the  temple.  At  the  end  of  three 
months  his  battering-rams  destroyed  one  of  the  largest 
towers,  and  he  made  his  way  into  the  fortress.  A  cruel 
massacre  ensued ;  the  priests  were  cut  down  even  while 
ministering  at  the  altar,  and  Pompey  himself  entered  the 
sacred  courts,  and  penetrated  into  the  Holy  of  Holies. 
On  his  return  to  Eome,  after  demolishing  the  walls  of 
Jerusalem,  he  took  with  him  a  large  number  of  Jewish 
prisoners  to  grace  his  triumph  (eis  efMTrcuypov,  "  for 
mockery "),  among  whom  were  Aristobulus  and  his  two 
sons  and  daughters.  Thus  was  the  independence  of 
Judaa  overthrown.  That  the  reference  is  not  to  Titus 
and  his  conquest  of  Jerusalem  is  evident  from  many 
circumstances,  more  especially  from  the  fact  that  the 
destruction  of  the  city  and  temple  is  nowhere  mentioned. 
The  man  from  a  strange  land,  who  carried  away  captives 
to  the  far  west,  is  the  same  whose  end  is  so  exultingly 
told  in  the  Psalter.  This  allusion  cannot  be  doubted. 


The  manner  of  Pompey's  death  is  well  known.  After 
his  defeat  at  Pharsalia,  he  sought  refuge  in  Egypt,  but 
was  treacherously  murdered  as  he  was  landing  on  the 
shore ;  his  head  was  cut  off,  and  his  body  was  left  naked 
and  dishonoured :  "  when,"  as  pseudo-Solomon  says  (iL 
29  ff.),  "  the  pride  of  the  Dragon  was  disgraced,  and  he 
was  stabbed  in  the  mountains  of  Egypt,  utterly  despised 
by  land  and  sea,  and  his  body  was  left  to  rot  on  the 
shore,  and  there  was  no  man  to  bury  him." 

It  will  be  seen  at  once  how  close  is  the  correspondence 
between  the  Psalter  and  this  chapter  of  Jewish  history. 
If  we  had  space  for  further  detail,  that  correspondence 
would  appear  still  more  striking ;  but  enough  has  been 
said  to  show  that  some  portion  of  the  work,  especially 
Ps.  ii.,  was  written  after  Pompey's  death,  and  probably 
very  soon  after,  while  the  event  was  still  uppermost  in 
men's  minds.  We  may  therefore  fix  the  date  of  its 
composition  at  B.C.  48  at  latest.  Some  of  the  Psalms  are 
doubtless  of  earlier  origin,  dating  probably  from  B.C.  63 ; 
and  none  exhibit  any  certain  trace  of  Christian  interpola- 

Taking  then  as  proved  the  ante-Christian  origin  of 
the  Psalter,  we  are  prepared  to  find  therein  valuable  inti- 
mations of  the  belief  of  the  Hebrews  in  the  age  just 
preceding  the  time  of  our  Lord.  And  we  are  not 
disappointed  in  our  anticipations.  It  must  be  observed 
that  the  writer  is  a  strict  Pharisee,  and  that  his  notion 
of  perfect  religion  is  Pharasaic  Judaism.  Pdghteousness 
with  him  implies  scrupulous  performance  of  all  legal  and 
ceremonial  enactments,  and  when  he  inveighs  against 
transgressors,  his  ground  for  censure  is  that  they  have 


not  observed  the  ordained  prescriptions.  The  current 
opinions  About  the  Messiah,  the  Eesurrection,  the  Future 
Life,  are  plainly  set  forth.  The  way  in  which  these 
subjects  are  introduced  is  briefly  this : — The  notion  of 
the  writer  throughout  is  that  God  is  a  righteous  judge, 
both  of  His  own  people  and  of  the  heathen.  He  punishes 
the  former  as  a  tender  father  chastises  the  son  of  his 
love ;  the  heathen  meet  with  the  stern  correction  which 
their  wilful  sins  deserve.  These  two  aspects  of  corrective 
and  vindictive  discipline  are  shown  by  an  appeal  to 
history.  The  fate  of  the  Maccaboean  dynasty,  the 
usurpation  of  the  Asmonreans,  the  invasion  and  supremacy 
of  the  Romans,  are  regarded  as  the  punishment  of 
national  sins ;  the  fate  of  Pompey  is  a  specimen  of  the 
destruction  which  awaits  paganism.  This  leads  the 
writer  to  look  forward  to  a  day  when  Israel's  supremacy 
shall  be  assured  by  the  appearance  of  Messiah,  and  to 
express  his  belief  in  the  resurrection  and  reward  of  the 
righteous  and  the  future  punishment  of  sinners.  This 
premised,  let  the  Psalmist  here  speak  for  himself.  The 
following  are  some  of  his  utterances  concerning  the 
Messiah  and  His  kingdom  : — 

Behold,  0  Lord,  and  raise  up  for  them  their  King, 

The  Son  of  David,  at  the  time  which  Thou,  our  God,  knowest, 

That  Thy  Servant  (vatici)  should  reign  over  Israel  ; 

And  gird  Him  with  power  to  beat  down  unrighteous  rulers  .  .  . 

And  He  shall  gather  together  the  holy  people  which  He  shall  guide 

in  righteousness, 
And  shall  judge  the  tribes  of  the  people  hallowed  by  the  Lord  His 

And  He  shall  not  suffer  unrighteousness  to  dwell  in  the  midst  of 

And  no  wicked  man  at  all  shall  abide  with  them  ; 


For  He  will  know  them  that  they  are  all  the  children  of  God, 

And  He  will  distribute  them  in  their  tribes  upon  the  land. 

And  the  stranger  and  the  foreigner  shall  no  more  sojourn  among 
them  ; 

He  shall  judge  the  peoples  and  nations  in  the  wisdom  of  His  right- 

He  shall  have  the  peoples  of  the  Gentiles  to  serve  Him  under  His  yoke, 

And  he  shall  glorify  the  Lord  by  the  submission  of  all  the  earth. 

And  lie  shall  cleanse  Jerusalem  with  sanctification  as  from  the 

That  Gentiles  may  come  from  the  ends  of  the  earth  to  see  his  glory, 

Bringing  as  offerings  her  way-worn  children,1 

Yen,  to  see  the  glory  of  the  Lord  wherewith  God  hath  glorified  her. 

And  He  is  the  righteous  King  over  them,  taught  of  God. 

There  is  no  injustice  in  His  days  in  their  midst, 

For  they  shall  all  be  holy,  and  their  King  shall  be  Christ  the  Lord.2 

He  shall  not  trust  in  horse  or  rider  or  bow, 

Nor  multiply  to  Himself  gold  and  silver  for  war, 

Nor  gather  hope  from  arms  in  the  day  of  battle  ; 

The  Lord  Himself  is  His  King,  the  hope  of  the  Mighty  One  is  in  the 
hope  of  God, 

And  He  will  set 3  all  the  nations  before  Him  in  fear  ; 

For  He  will  smite  the  earth  with  the  word  of  His  mouth  for  ever, 

And  bless  the  people  of  the  Lord  in  wisdom  with  gladness. 

He  Himself  is  pure  from  sin  that  He  may  govern  a  great  people, 

Rebuke  princes,  and  remove  sinners  by  the  power  of  His  word. 

And,  trusting  upon  His  God,  He  shall  not  be  weak  in  His  days 

Because  God  hath  made  Him  mighty  by  His  Holy  Spirit,  * 

And  wise  in  the  counsel  of  prudence,  with  power  and  righteousness. 

And  the  blessing  of  the  Lord  shall  be  with  Him  in  power, 

And  His  hope  in  the  Lord  shall  not  be  weak  ; 

1  Referring  probably  to  such  passages  as  Isa.  xlix.  22,  Ixvi.  20 ; 
Zeph.  iii.  10. 

2  XpurTo;  x.vpio$,  as  Lam.  iv.  20.    In  Isa.  xlv.  1,  some  of  the  Fathers 
rend  ra  xpia7u  pov  xvptu  instead  of  Kvpu.     See  Barnab.  Ep.  xii.  11 ; 
Tertull.  Adv.  Jnd.  vii. ;  Cypr.  Testim.  i.  21 ;  cf.  St.  Luke  ii.  11. 

3  The  MS.    has  lAgsjo-*/,  which    seems   plainly  wrong.      Fr.  and 
Hilg.  read  arriasi.    Whiston  :  "  will  grind."     I  would  suggest  «AOIJ<«/, 
"will  thresh."     Geiger  retains  tteqaet,  and  translates:  "has  mercy 
on  all  people  who  fear  before  Him."     But  this  is  inappropriate. 

4  'Ev  TTi/svpciTt  of/la.     Cf.  Isa.  Ixiii.  10,  11. 


And  who  shall  prevail  against  Him  1 

Mighty  is  He  in  His  works,  and  strong  in  the  fear  of  God. 

Tending  the  nock  of  the  Lord  in  faith  and  righteousness, 

He  will  let  none  among  them  in  their  pasture  to  be  weak. 

He  shall  lead  them  all  in  holiness, 

And  there  shall  be  among  them  no  arrogance  to  oppress  them.  (xviL 
23  ff.) 

May  God  purify  Israel  against  the  day  of  mercy  by  His  bless- 

Against  the  day  of  their  election  in  the  presence l  of  His  Christ. 

Blessed  are  they  who  live  in  those  days, 

To  see  the  good  things  of  the  Lord  which  He  will  do  in  the  genera- 
tion to  come, 

Under  the  rod  of  the  correction  of  Christ  the  Lord  in  the  fear  of  His 

In  the  wisdom  of  the  spirit  and  of  righteousness  and  power. 

A  good  generation  shall  there  be  in  the  fear  of  God  in  the  days 
of  mercy,  (xviii.  6-10.) 

From  these  passages  we  may  gather  the  writer's  senti- 
ments. He  is  deeply  afflicted  by  the  calamities  of  his 
people,  The  oppression  of  the  heathen,  the  ruin  of  his 
city,  the  pollution  of  the  temple,  the  reign  of  paganism, 
the  supremacy  of  unrighteousness,  have  broken  his 
patriotic  heart ;  and  while  he  owns  that  his  countrymen 
are  justly  punished  for  past  iniquities,  iniquities  shared 
by  prince  and  priest  and  people,  he  all  the  more  looks 
forward  to  the  coming  Messiah,  who  shall  bring  salvation 
unto  Israel.  From  their  lost  independence,  from  their 
present  weakness  and  insignificance,  he  turns  his  longing 
gaze  to  better  times ;  he  hopes  for  supernatural  help ;  he 
glows  with  anticipations  of  the  glories  of  Messianic 

1  'Ei/  oiva&t  Xjo/ffToii  otvrov.  The  word  oLva&g  seems  to  be  wholly 
unknown.  Ecclesiastical  Greek  recognises  avvot&s — communion. 
Geiger  translates  :  "  in  the  kingdom  of  His  anointed."  It  may  mean 
"exaltation."  In  a  fragment  of  /Eschylus  &»»#*  occurs  in  the  sense 
of  "kingdom." 


victories.  This  hope  is  based  on  God's  promise  to  David 
of  eternal  dominion,  which,  though  for  a  time,  diverted 
into  another  channel  (the  Asmonaean  dynasty),  should  be 
restored  in  due  time  under  David's  greater  Son.  The 
time  is  come  for  the  revelation  of  God's  mercy  to  His 
chosen  nation ;  Israel  is  at  its  lowest  point  of  misery ; 
this  is  the  Lord's  opportunity.  Let  Him  send  Messiah 
to  expel  the  unrighteous  rulers,  to  cleanse  the  holy  city 
from  the  heathen,  yea,  to  drive  them,  out  of  the  holy  land, 
and  to  gather  together  in  one  the  dispersed  of  the  people. 
But  the  large  promises  of  God  are  not  satisfied  by 
Messiah's  reign  over  Israel  alone.  His  kingdom  is  over 
all  the  earth.  He  unites  all  peoples  under  His  rule,  and 
magnifies  the  name  of  God  by  extending  His  dominion 
wherever  man  has  his  dwelling-place  ;  and  this,  not  for  a 
time  only,  but  for  ever. 

Thus  far  the  poet  has  exhibited  only  the  earthly  aspect 
of  Messiah's  kingdom,  His  conquests  and  power,  obtained 
without  weapons  of  war,  by  the  word  of  His  mouth.  But 
lest  this  idea  of  Christ  should  seem  too  worldly,  he 
hastens  to  show  the  significance  of  this  universal  sway, 
and  its  moral  and  religious  effects.  Messiah  is  Himself 
sinless,  and  reigns  in  a  sinless  kingdom.  All  unright- 
eousness shall  be  abolished ;  there  shall  be  no  iniquity  in 
the  restored  Israel.  Peace  shall  reign,  and  holiness  shall 
triumph.  Violence  and  injustice  shall  be  found  no  more  ; 
the  pride  of  sinners  shall  be  extirpated.  So  grand  an 
idea  of  wisdom  and  purity  shall  be  exhibited  in  Israel, 
that  distant  nations  shall  flock  to  Jerusalem  to  see  her 
glory  and  to  learn  her  ways. 

All  this    is  to   happen   in   God's   good    time,   which, 


in  the  author's  view,  is  not  far  distant,  even  as  the 
upostles  of  the  Lord  thought  that  the  end  was  near,  and 
expected  to  see  the  great  consummation  in  their  own 

The  Messiah,  in  this  pseudo-Solomon's  conception,  is 
not  very  and  eternal  God.  It  is  indeed  not  always  clear 
whether  God  or  the  Christ  is  the  subject  of  some  of  his 
paragraphs ;  but,  taking  one  passage  with  another,  we 
conclude  that  he  regarded  Messiah  as  the  agent  and 
organ  of  God,  but  not  God  Himself.  He  is  God's  deputy 
and  executes  His  will;  but  Jehovah  is  the  supreme 
King,  and  appoints  Him  as  ruler  and  judge.  Here  we  see 
the  defective  view  of  the  nature  and  work  of  Messiah 
which  meets  us  in  the  Jews  of  the  New  Testament.  The 
faith  is  strong,  the  expectation  is  immediate,  but  the  idea 
is  erroneous,  worldly,  carnal,  very  far  inferior  indeed  to 
that  in  the  Book  of  Enoch,  which  is  much  more  spiritual 
and  nearer  the  truth. 

To  turn  to  another  point.  The  writer  has  a  strong 
faith  in  the  Kesurrection  of  the  righteous  in  the  time  of 
Messiah,  though  he  does  not  give  expressly  his  notion  of 
the  sequence  of  events  at  that  period.  That  sinners 
shall  rise  again  does  not  enter  into  his  view ;  nor  does  he 
state  what  shall  be  the  fate  of  the  unbelieving  portion  of 
the ,  Gentile  world  in  the  great  future ;  though  he 
probably  held  with  his  contemporaries  that  exclusion 
from  the  kingdom  of  Messiah  was  equivalent  to  eternal 
death  or  annihilation.  But  the  righteous  are  to  rise 
again  in  order  to  share  the  blessings  of  the  Messianic 
reign,  and  to  shine  with  an  everlasting  light,  and,  as 
another  pseudo-Solomon  says  (Wisd.  iii.  7),  "  to  run  to 


and  fro  like  sparks  among  the  stubble."  In  the  other 
world  retribution  is  to  fall  upon  the  sinners ;  they  shall 
be  condemned  in  the  day  of  judgment,  and  be  destroyed 
as  by  fire.  And  sinners,  in  his  view,  are  not  merely 
those  who  are  guilty  of  moral  offences  or  vulgar  wicked- 
ness ;  he  calls  by  this  name  the  hypocrites  and  men- 
pleasers  (avOpwrrdpecncoi)  of  his  own  nation.  Against 
these  he  inveighs  in  the  bitterest  terms.  They  are 
profane,  unclean  as  the  very  heathen  whose  vices  they 
imitated ;  their  heart  is  far  from  the  Lord ;  they  have 
provoked  the  God  of  Israel  to  anger,  so  that  He  has 
grievously  afflicted  His  people  for  their  sake.  And  he 
calls  for  vengeance  upon  them  in  this  world  as  well  as  in 
the  next.  May  their  life,  he  prays,  pass  in  poverty  and 
distress ;  may  their  sleep  be  vexed  with  pain  and  their 
waking  with  misery ;  may  the  work  of  their  hands  never 
prosper ;  may  their  old  age  be  childless ;  may  their  dead 
bodies  be  cast  forth  dishonoured,  and  may  ravens  pick 
out  their  eyes.  "  So  may  God  destroy  all  those  who 
work  iniquity ;  for  the  Lord  is  a  Judge,  great  and 
mighty  in  righteousness  "  (Ps.  iv.). 

While  thus  uncompromising  in  his  denunciation  of  in- 
iquity and  in  his  assurance  of  God's  inflexible  justice,  the 
writer  is  not  insensible  to  the  hope  that  exists  for  sinners 
when  they  repent.  If  a  man  is  ashamed  of  his  sins  and 
confesses  them,  God  will  forgive  him  and  cleanse  his  soul. 
But  he  must  be  patient  under  the  rod,  and  take  the 
chastisement  as  the  merciful  correction  of  his  error  :  "  He 
that  prepareth  his  back  for  the  scourge  shall  be  justified 
from  iniquity ;  for  the  Lord  is  good  to  those  who  endure 
discipline"  (Ps.  ix.,  x.). 


These  are  the  Psalmist's  words  concerning  the  resur- 
rection :  — 

They  that  fear  the  Lord  shall  rise  again  (oLvounwovrai.!)  to  life  ever- 

And  their  life  shall  be  in  the  light  of  the  Lord,  and  shall  fail  no 

more.     (iii.  16.) 

For  the  Lord  will  spare  His  holy  ones, 
And  will  blot  out  their  offences  by  chastisement  ; 
For  the  life  of  the  righteous  is  for  ever  ; 
But  sinners  shall  be  taken  away  for  destruction, 
And  their  memorial  shall  no  more  be  found  ; 
But  the  mercy  of  the  Lord  is  upon  the  holy, 
And  His  mercy  upon  them  that  fear  Him.     (xiii.  9-11.) 
The  holy  of  the  Lord  shall  live  in  Him  for  ever  ; 
The  Paradise  of  the  Lord,  the  trees  of  life,  are  His  holy  ones. 
The  holy  of  the  Lord  shall  inherit  life  in  gladness,     (xiv.  2,  7.) 

Thus  also  he  speaks  concerning  the  retribution   that 
awaits  the  unrighteous  :  — 

Not  so  are  sinners  and  transgressors.  .  .  . 

Who  have  not  remembered  God, 

That  the  ways  of  men  are  always  known  unto  Him, 

And  He  understandeth  the  treasure-chambers  (rot^tsix)  of  the  heart 

before  they  are  made. 

Therefore  their  inheritance  is  Hades,  and  darkness,  and  destruction  ; 
And  they  shall  not  be  found  in  the  day  of  the  mercy  of  the  righteous. 

(xiv.  4-6.) 

He  raises  me  up  unto  glory, 

But  He  lays  the  proud  to  sleep1  unto  eternal  destruction  in  dishonour, 
Because  they  knew  Him  not.     (ii.  35.) 

which  Fritzsche  alters  into  xofAi^av  unnecessarily,  for 
the  Psalmist  has  the  authority  of  Euripides  for  this  use  of  the 
word  : 


pho'/fta  Kpovfictg.     Hec.  472  if. 
Cf.  too  in  the  Hebrew,  1  Kings  iii.  20  ;  2  Kings  iv.  21. 


The  mercy  of  the  Lord  is  upon  them  that  fear  Him,  while  He 

executes  His  judgment, 
To  sever  between  the  just  and  the  sinner, 
To  repay  sinners  for  ever  according  to  their  works, 
And  to  have  mercy  on  the  righteous  while  the  sinner  is  humbled, 
And  to  repay  the  sinner  for  what  he  did  to  the  righteous,    (ii.  37-39.) 
He  fell ;  because  evil  was  his  fall  and  he  shall  not  rise  to  life  again  ; 
The  destruction  of  the  sinner  is  for  everlasting, 
And  God  shall  not  remember  him  when  He  visits  the  righteous  ; 
This  is  the  portion  of  sinners  for  everlasting,     (iii.  13-15.) 
They  who  do  iniquity  shall  not  escape  the  judgment  of  the  Lord, 
They  shall  be  seized  as  by  skilled  enemies  ; 
For  the  mark  of  destruction  shall  be  upon  their  foreheads, 
And  the  inheritance  of  sinners  shall  be  destruction  and  darkness, 
And  their  iniquities  shall  pursue  them  unto  Hades  beneath  ; 
Their  inheritance  shall  not  be  found  for  their  children, 
For  their  iniquities  shall  make  the  house  of  sinners  desolate  ; 
And  sinners  shall  perish   in  the  day  of  the  Lord's  judgment  for 


When  God  shall  visit  the  earth  in  His  judgment, 
To  repay  sinners  for  everlasting,     (xv.  9  ff.) 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  destiny  of  a  man  is  made  to 
depend  entirely  upon  his  doings  during  life.  He  has  the 
power  of  deciding  upon  his  own  course.  "  0  God,"  it  is 
said  (Ps.  viii.),  "our  works  are  at  our  choice,  and  we 
have  power  over  our  soul  to  do  righteousness  or  iniquity 
with  the  works  of  our  hands." 

The  Psalter  ends  with  a  hymn  of  praise  to  God  as  the 
Creator,  Preserver,  and  Euler  of  all  things,  who,  as  the 
writer  has  already  said,  from  present  confusion  and 
calamity  evolves  harmony  and  peace. 

Great  is  our  God  and  glorious,  dwelling  in  the  highest, 

Who  hath  ordained  lights  in  the  path  of  heaven  to  divide  the  time 

from  day  to  day, 
And  they  have  never  strayed  from  the  way  which  Thou  commandedst 



In  the  fear  of  God  hath  been  their  way  every  day, 

From  the  day  in  which  God  created  them,  and  shall  be  for  evermore  ; 

And  they  have  wandered  not  from  the  day  in  which  God  creator! 


From  the  generations  of  old  they  have  never  forsaken  their  way, 
Save  when  God  bade  them  at  the  command  of  His  servants. l    (xviii. 


1  The  tautology  in  my  version  is  a  close  rendering  of  the  Greek, 
which,  we  must  remember,  is  not  the  original. 




IN  the  Epistle  of  St.  Jude  the  following  passage  occurs 
(vers.  14,  15):  "And  to  these  also,  Enoch,  the  seventh 
from  Adam,  prophesied,  saying,  Behold,  the  Lord  came 
with  ten  thousands  of  His  holy  ones,  to  execute  judg- 
ment upon  all,  and  to  convict  all  the  ungodly  of  all 
their  works  of  ungodliness  which  they  have  ungodly 
wrought,  and  of  all  the  hard  things  which  ungodly 
sinners  have  spoken  against  Him."  The  question 
immediately  arises,  Is  the  apostle  quoting  from  some 
writing  extant  in  his  day,  or  citing  merely  a  prophecy 
preserved  by  tradition  ?  The  language  does  not  help 
to  a  solution  of  the  inquiry.  Jude  writes :  "  Enoch 

1  In  compiling  this  account,  I  have  availed  myself  of  Bishop 
Laurence's  translation  of  the  Book  of  Enoch,  Dillmann's  Das  Buck 
Henoch,  Drummond's  The  Jewish  Messiah,  the  Cyclopaedias,  English 
and  German,  and  the  able  Dissertation  in  Dr.  Gloag's  Introduction  to 
the  Catholic  Epistles.  I  have  also  used  Ewald's  Abhandlung  iiber  d. 
^thiop.  Buches  Henokh  Entstehung  ;  Kostlin's  "  Ueber  die  Entstehung 
d.  Buches  Henoeh,"  in  Baur  and  Zeller's  Theolog.  Jahrbuch.  1856, 
Heftt  2  and  3  ;  and  Volkmar's  "  Beitrage  zur  Erkliirung  des  B. 
Henoch ,"  in  Deutsch.  morgenl.  Zeitschr.  1860. 



.  .  .  \eycov."  This  might  be  said  equally 
of  an  actual  quotation  or  of  a  '  traditional  report.  But 
when  it  was  discovered  that  the  Fathers  and  other  early 
writers  often  referred  to  a  writing  of  Enoch  and  quoted 
sentences  therefrom,  it  was  obvious  that  they  were 
acquainted  with  some  document  which  bore  the  patri- 
arch's name,  and  which  was  extensively  known  in  early 
Christian  centuries.1  Thus,  in  the  Epistle  of  Barnabas 
(as  it  is  called),  a  work  composed  at  the  end  of  the  first 
Christian  century,  we  read  (iv.  3)  :  "  The  final  stumbling- 
block  hath  approached,  concerning  which  it  is  written,  as 
Enoch  2  says,  For  to  this  end  the  Lord  hath  shortened 
the  times  and  the  days,  that  His  beloved  may  hasten 
and  come  into  the  inheritance."  In  the  Testaments  of  the 
Twelve  Patriarchs  and  in  the  Book  of  Jubilees,  the  words 
of  Enoch  are  frequently  cited,  and  the  resemblances  to 
passages  in  our  work  are  numerous.  In  the  former,  at 
least,  nine  passages  contain  distinct  references  to  Enoch's 
prophetical  writings  ;  and  in  the  latter  not  only  is  the 
book  often  used  without  acknowledgment,  but  it  is  also 
expressly  mentioned.  Justin  Martyr  does  not  quote  it 
by  name,  but  his  views  concerning  the  angels  and  their 
connection  with  man  are  plainly  identical  with  and 
derived  from  this  book.3  That  Irenreus  made  use  of  it 
is  evident.  Thus  he  says  :  4  "  Enoch  also,  pleasing  God 
without  circumcision,  man  though  he  was,  discharged  the 

1  The  quotations  are  to  be  found  in  Fabricius,  Codex  Pseudepiyr. 
Vet.  Test.  i.  161  ff. 

2  One  Latin  MS.  of  the  Epistle  gives  "  Daniel  "  instead  of  "  Enoch." 
The   sentence    does    not  occur  in  the   text  of    Enocli   which   we 

3  Apol  ii.  5.  *  Adv.  Hew.  iv.  30  ;  comp.  iv.  16.  2. 


office  of  legate  towards  the  angels,"  a  fact  nowhere 
mentioned  but  in  our  work ;  "  and  was  translated,  and 
is  preserved  still  as  witness  of  the  just  judgment  of 
God"  (chaps,  xiv.,  xv.).  Tertullian  seems  to  have 
regarded  it  as  inspired.  "  These  things,"  he  writes,1 
"  the  Holy  Ghost,  foreseeing  from  the  beginning  the 
future  entrance  of  superstitions,  foretold  by  the  mouth 
of  the  ancient  seer  Enoch."  He  adopts  Enoch's  story 
of  the  fall  of  the  angels  (which,  indeed,  is  common  to 
other  of  the  Pseudepigrapha),  and  their  introduction 
of  mechanical  arts,  sorcery,  and  astrology ;  and  while 
acknowledging  that  it  was  not  received  into  the  Jewish 
Canon  (armarium  Judaicum),  he  endeavours  to  show 
how  it  could  have  been  preserved  in  the  Deluge  and 
handed  down  to  Christian  times,  and  that  it  was  rejected 
by  the  Jews  because  it  too  plainly  testified  of  Christ. 
Origen  took  a  lower  view  of  its  authority,  but  he  refers 
to  it  more  than  once,2  using  its  language  and  adopting 
the  ideas,  as  emanating  from  one  of  the  greatest  of 
prophets.  Clement  of  Alexandria3  regards  it  with  a 
certain  respect  while  denying  its  inspiration.  "  I  must 
confess,"  says  St.  Augustine,4  "  that  some  things  of  Divine 
character  were  written  by  Enoch,  the  seventh  from 
Adam,  since  this  is  testified  by  the  Apostle  Jude  in  his 
canonical  Epistle ;  but  they  are  deservedly  excluded  from 
the  Jewish  Scriptures,  because  they  lack  authority  and 
cannot  be  proved  genuine."  In  the  Apostolic  Constitu- 

1  De  Idol  xv.     Comp.  ibid.  iv.     De  Cult.  Fcem.  i.  3,  ii.  10. 

2  See  De  Princip.  i.  8,  iv.  35  ;'  Horn,  in  Num.  xxviii.  ;  Contr.  Cels. 
v.  54,  p.  267. 

3  Strom,  p.  550.  4  De  Civit.  xv.  23;   comp.  ibid,  xviii.  38. 


tions  the  book  is  reckoned  among  Apocrypha,  and  it  is 
placed  in  the  same  category  in  the  Synopsis  Athanasii 
and  the  Catalogue  of  Nicephorus.  By  the  fifth  century 
the  book  seems  to  have  sunk  out  of  sight,  and  little  or 
nothing  more  was  heard  of  it  till  Scaliger  (1540-1609) 
discovered  some  fragments  of  it  in  an  unpublished  MS. 
of  the  Chronograpliia,  of  Georgius  Syncellus  (A.D.  792), 
and  printed  them.  The  extracts  are  given  by  Fabricius, 
by  Laurence  and  Dillmann,  and  of  them  all  but  one  are 
found  in  our  present  text  of  Enoch.  The  exception  is 
a  short  passage  about  the  doom  pronounced  on  the 
mountain  where  the  angels  made  their  impious  con- 
spiracy, and  on  the  sons  of  men  involved  in  their  crime. 
The  extracts  in  Syncellus'  work  tend  to  show  that  the 
Book  of  Enoch  was  extant  in  the  Eastern  Church  for 
some  time  after  it  had  practically  disappeared  from  the 
Western.  That  the  book  was  also  in  the  hands  of  the  Jews 
of  mediaeval  times  has  been  proved  by  references  in  the 
Zohar,  a  kind  of  philosophical  commentary  upon  the  law, 
which  contains  the  most  ancient  remains  of  the  Cabala.1 
Thus  we  read :  "  The  Holy  and  the  Blessed  One  raised 
him  (Enoch)  from  the  world  to  serve  Him,  as  it  is 
written,  '  For  God  took  him.'  From  that  time  a  book 
was  delivered  down  which  was  called  the  Book  of  Enoch. 
In  the  hour  that  God  took  him,  He  showed  him  all  the 
repositories  above ;  He  showed  him  the  tree  of  life  in 
the  midst  of  the  garden,  its  leaves  and  its  branches.  We 
see  all  in  his  book."  And  again,  "  We  find  in  the  Book 
of  Enoch,  that  after  the  Holy  and  Blessed  One  had 

1  Laurence,  Prelim.  Dissert,  xxi.  ;  Dillmann,  Einleit.  Ivii. ;  Gloag, 
pp.  389  f. 


caused  him  to  ascend,  and  showed  him  all  the  repositories 
of  the  superior  and  inferior  kingdom,  He  showed  him  the 
tree  of  life,  and  the  tree  respecting  which  Adam  had 
received  a  command ;  and  He  showed  him  the  habitation 
of  Adam  in  the  Garden  of  Eden."  Further  traces  of  the 
book  have  been  discovered  in  other  Rabbinical  writings, 
but  we  need  not  linger  on  these. 

From  the  above  and  similar  allusions  it  was  clear  to 
all  scholars  that  a  book  extant  under  the  name  of  Enoch 
had  been  well  known  in  earlier  days  ;  but  for  some 
centuries  nothing  more  certain  came  to  light ;  the 
appetite  of  critics  had  nothing  more  definite  to  feed 
upon.  It  remained  for  the  great  traveller  Bruce  to 
satisfy  the  long-unappeased  desire  for  further  informa- 
tion. In  the  year  1773,  Bruce  astonished  the  learned 
world  by  claiming  to  have  secured  in  Abyssinia,  and 
brought  safely  home,  three  copies  of  an  Ethiopian  version 
of  the  Book  of  Enoch.  An  idea,  indeed,  had  long  pre- 
vailed (whence  originating  it  is  hard  to  say)  that  such  a 
version  did  exist ;  and  it  was  thought  at  one  time  that  a 
certain  tract,  transmitted  from  Egypt,  and  purchased  by 
Peiresc  for  the  Eoyal  Library  at  Paris,  was  the  identical 
work.  This  was  found  not  to  be  the  case ;  and  warned 
by  former  disappointment,  scholars  awaited  the  examina- 
tion of  Bruce's  MSS.  with  some  anxiety.  Of  the  three 
copies  brought  to  Europe,  one,  a  most  magnificent  quarto, 
was  presented  by  the  finder  to  the  Library  at  Paris,  and 
another  to  the  Bodleian  at  Oxford  ;  the  third,  kept  in  his 
own  possession,  was  included  in  a  MS.  of  the  Scriptures, 
where  it  is  placed  immediately  before  the  Book  of  Job, 
assuming  an  unquestioned  position  among  the  canonical 


books.  On  hearing  that  Paris  possessed  this  treasure, 
Dr.  Woide,  librarian  of  the  British  Museum,  immediately 
set  out  for  France,  armed  with  letters  to  the  ambassador 
desiring  him  to  procure  the  learned  scholar  access  to  the 
work.  This  was  done,  and  Dr.  Woide  transcribed  the 
whole  book,  and  brought  the  transcript  with  him  to 
England.  His  knowledge  of  Ethiopic  was  not  sufficient 
to  enable  him  to  attempt  a  translation.  He  might  have 
spared  himself  much  trouble  had  he  been  aware  that 
Oxford  possessed  a  copy  of  the  work ;  but  the  University 
itself  received  the  present  very  quietly,  and  let  it  rest 
undisturbed  on  its  shelves  for  many  years.  The  Parisian 
MS.  was  noticed  in  the  Magasin  Encycloptdique  by  the 
Orientalist,  De  Sacy,  who  published  therein  a  translation 
of  certain  passages.  But  it  was  not  till  the  year  1821 
that  the  book  was  fully  brought  before  the  world.  In 
that  year  Dr.  Laurence,  then  Professor  of  Hebrew  at 
Oxford,  and  afterwards  Archbishop  of  Cashel,  published 
a  translation  of  the  whole,  with  preliminary  dissertation 
and  notes.  This  has  been  more  than  once  reprinted,  and 
was  supplemented  in  1838  by  the  publication  of  the 
Ethiopic  text.  The  discovery  of  five  different  codices 
enabled  Dillmann  to  put  forth  a  more  correct  text ;  and 
his  edition,  with  its  German  translation,  introduction, 
and  commentary,  is  now  the  standard  work  on  the 
subject.  There  is  another  German  version  by  Hoffmann, 
for  the  latter  part  of  which  he  had  the  benefit  of  a  MS. 
in  the  library  of  Frankfort-on-the-Maine,  lately  brought 
from  Abyssinia ;  and  there  is  also  an  English  translation 
by  Professor  Schodde,  of  America,  printed  at  Andover  in 
1882  ;  but  nothing  seems  likely  to  supersede  Dillmann's 


edition,  unless,  indeed,  the  discovery  is  some  day  made  of 
the  original  text  from  which  the  Ethiopic  version  was 
rendered.  There  was  indeed  at  one  time  a  hope  of  some 
additional  light  from  Mai's  discovery  of  a  small  fragment 
in  Greek  among  the  manuscripts  of  the  Vatican  Library. 
But  further  investigation  led  to  the  mortifying  fact  that 
no  more  was  to  be  found ;  and  as  the  portion  extended 
only  from  ver.  42  to  ver.  49  of  chap.  Ixxxix.,  it  was  of 
little  practical  utility. 

As  to  the  language  of  the  original  work,  there  is  no 
reason  to  doubt  that  it  was  Hebrew  or  Aramaean.  It  is 
true  that  the  fragments  of  Syncellus  and  those  found  by 
Mai  in  the  Vatican  Library  are  all  in  Greek,  and  it  was 
from  Greek  exemplars  that  the  quotations  in  the  Fathers 
were  made ;  but  a  critical  examination  of  these  extracts 
and  of  the  Abyssinian  version  leads  to  the  conclusion 
that  they  are  derived  from  a  Hebrew  source.  To  favour 
this  verdict,  critics  are  induced  by  such  evidence  as  the 
following :  there  are  in  the  version  a  great  number  of 
Hebrew  idioms  and  expressions  equally  foreign  to  Greek 
and  Ethiopic,  and  all  capable  of  being  easily  rendered 
back  into  Hebrew ;  the  writer  or  writers  were  thoroughly 
acquainted  with  the  Scriptures  in  the  original,  and  did 
not  employ  the  Septuagint  version ;  the  names  of  the 
angels  and  archangels  are  of  Hebrew  etymology,  viz. 
Uriel,  Eaphael,  Eaguel,  Michael,  Sarakael,  Gabriel ;  the 
appellations  of  the  winds  can  only  be  explained  by  a 
reference  to  the  Hebrew,  the  east  wind  being  so  called 
because  it  is  the  first,  according  to  Hebrew  etymology, 
and  the  south,  because  the  Most  High  there  descends,  the 
Hebrew  term  being  capable  of  this  interpretation.  The 


names  of  the  sun,  Oryares  and  Tomas,  are  Semitic  ;  so 
are  those  of  the  conductors  of  the  months,  Melkeel, 
Helemmelek,  Meleyal,  Narel,  etc. ;  and,  as  Dr.  Gloag 
observes,  OpJianim,  mentioned  in  connection  with  the 
cherubim  and  seraphim,  is  the  Hebrew  word  for  the 
"  wheels  "  in  Ezekiel.  "We  are,  then,  tolerably  secure  in 
assuming  the  hypothesis  of  a  Hebrew  original.  We 
have  no  criteria  to  enable  us  to  judge  when  it  was  trans- 
lated into  Greek.  The  Ethiopic  version  was  made 
directly  from  the  Hebrew,  subsequently  to  the  transla- 
tion of  the  Old  Testament  into  Ethiopic ;  but  the  date 
is  undetermined.  If  it  keeps  as  close  to  the  original  as 
the  rendering  of  Holy  Scripture  does,  it  may  be  regarded 
as  a  faithful  and  accurate  representation  of  the  text. 

In  the  Ethiopic  MSS.  the  work  is  divided  into  twenty 
sections ;  but  the  chapters  are  not  uniformly  arranged. 
Dillmann  has  retained  the  twenty  sections,  and  sub- 
divided them  into  108  chapters,  marking  the  verses  of 
each  chapter  for  greater  distinctness  of  reference.  This 
distribution  is  now  generally  followed. 

We  will  first  give  a  sketch  of  the  contents  of  the 
work  before  discussing  its  date  and  authorship,  and 
gathering  the  lessons  which  it  teaches. 

The  book  may  be  said  roughly  to  consist  of  five  parts, 
with  an  introduction  and  a  conclusion.  The  general 
introduction,  which  is  contained  in  the  first  five  chapters, 
commences  thus :  "  The  words  of  blessing  of  Enoch, 
wherewith  he  blessed  the  elect  and  the  righteous  who 
shall  exist  in  the  time  of  trouble,  when  the  wicked  and 
ungodly  shall  be  removed.  Enoch,  a  righteous  man, 
whose  eyes  God  had  opened,  so  that  he  saw  a  holy  vision 


in  the  heavens,  which  the  angels  showed  me,  answered 
and  spake."  The  account  proceeds  in  the  first  person  ; 
but  throughout  there  is  no  consistency  shown  in  this 
matter,  changes  from  the  first  to  the  third  person  being 
frequent,  and  marking  the  hand  of  an  editor  or  inter- 
polator. The  vision  was  for  future  generations,  and  in 
it  he  learned  that  God  would  come  down  on  Mount 
Sinai  with  all  His  hosts  to  execute  judgment,  punishing 
the  wicked,  rewarding  the  righteous.  Then  occurs  the 
original  of  the  passage  quoted  by  St.  Jude :  "  Behold, 
He  comes  with  myriads  of  saints  to  sit  in  judgment  on 
them,  and  will  destroy  the  ungodly,  and  contend  with  all 
flesh  for  everything  which  the  sinful  and  ungodly  have 
done  and  committed  against  Him."  Enoch  observed  the 
regular  order  of  everything  in  heaven  and  earth,  which 
obeyed  fixed  laws  and  never  varied,  and  he  contrasts  the 
fate  of  the  good  and  the  evil ;  the  latter  shall  find  no 
peace  and  curse  their  day,  while  the  former  shall  have 
light,  joy,  and  peace  for  the  whole  of  their  existence. 
The  above  prelude  affords  a  glimpse  of  the  nature  of  the 
Book,  with  its  allusions  to  natural  phenomena  and  its 
eschatological  views. 

The  first  division  is  contained  in  chaps,  vi.— xxxvi.,  and 
is  subdivided  into  three  sections.1  Section  i.  (chaps, 
vi.-xi.)  narrates  the  fall  of  the  angels  and  its  immediate 
consequences.  Seeing  the  beauty  of  the  daughters  of 
men,  two  hundred  angels  under  the  leadership  of 
Semyaza  bound  themselves  by  an  oath  to  take  wives 
from  among  mortal  women.  For  this  purpose  they 
descended  on  Mount  Hermon,  and  in  due  time  became 
1  I  use  Dillmann's  divisions  throughout. 


parents  of  giants  of  fabulous  height  and  size.  These 
monsters  devoured  all  the  substance  of  men,  and  then 
proceeded  to  devour  men  themselves  ;  they  also  taught 
mankind  all  kind  of  destructive  arts,  and  vice  flourished 
under  their  instruction.  And  men  cried  aloud  to 
heaven,  and  the  four  archangels  heard  them,  and  ap- 
pealed to  God  in  their  behalf.  And  God  sent  Uriel  to 
Noah,  the  son  of  Lamech,  to  warn  him  of  the  flood,  and 
ordered  Eaphael  to  bind  Azazel,  and  lay  him  in  a  dark 
cleft  in  the  wilderness,  there  to  remain  till  the  fire 
received  him  at  the  day  of  judgment.  Gabriel  had  to 
set  the  giants  one  against  the  other  that  they  might 
perish  by  mutual  slaughter ;  to  Michael  fell  the  duty  of 
punishing  the  evil  angels  ;  they  were  to  witness  the 
destruction  of  their  offspring,  and  then  be  buried  under 
the  earth  for  seventy  generations  till  the  judgment  day, 
when  they  should  be  cast  into  eternal  fire.  Then  when 
all  sin  and  impurity  shall  be  purged  away  "  at  the  end 
of  all  generations,"  the  plant  of  righteousness  shall 
appear,  and  a  new  order  of  things  ;  the  saints  shall  live 
till  they  have  forgotten  a  thousand  children,  and  shall 
die  in  peace  ;  the  earth  shall  be  fruitful,  and  be  planted 
with  all  manner  of  trees  ;  no  corruption,  or  crime,  or 
suffering  shall  be  found  therein  ;  "  in  those  days,"  saith 
God,  "  I  will  open  the  store-chambers  of  blessing  which 
are  in  heaven,  that  they  may  descend  upon  the  earth, 
and  on  the  work  and  labour  of  men.  Peace  and  right- 
eousness shall  join  together,  in  all  the  days  of  the  world 
and  through  all  the  families  of  the  earth." 

Section  ii.  (chaps.  xii.-xvi.).     After  it  has  been  said 
that  Enoch  was  hidden  from  men's  sight,  being  wholly 


engaged  with  the  holy  ones,  he  himself  tells  how  the 
good  angels  sent  him  to  the  fallen  angels,  whose  inter- 
course with  heaven  was  entirely  cut  off,  to  announce 
their  doom.  Terrified,  they  entreat  him  to  write  for 
them  a  petition  to  God  for  forgiveness ;  he  complies  with 
their  request,  leaves  their  unholy  neighbourhood,  and, 
retreating  to  the  region  of  Dan,  falls  asleep,  and  has  a 
vision  of  judgment,  which  he  afterwards  is  commissioned 
to  unfold  to  the  disobedient  angels.  Their  petition  is 
refused  now  and  for  ever.  And  the  dread  answer  was 
given  to  him,  as  he  relates,  in  a  vision,  wherein  he  was 
rapt  to  the  palace  of  heaven  and  the  presence  of  the 
Almighty,  of  which  he  gives  a  very  noble  description. 

Section  iii.  (chaps.  xvii.-xxxvi.)  gives  an  account  of 
Enoch's  journeys  through  heaven  and  earth  under  the 
guidance  of  angels,  in  the  course  of  which  he  is  made 
acquainted  with  the  wonders  of  nature  hidden  from  man, 
with  places,  powers,  and  beings  which  have  relation  to 
revealed  religion,  Messianic  hopes,  and  the  last  days. 
He  is  taken  to  the  place  where  the  storm- winds  dwell,  and 
the  sun  obtains  its  fire,  and  the  oceans  and  the  rivers  of 
the  nether  world  flow ;  he  saw  seven  luminous  mountains 
in  the  south-east,  formed  of  precious  stones,  and  the 
place  where  the  disobedient  stars  were  suffering  punish- 
ment,1 and  that  which,  though  now  untenanted,  shall  be 
the  penal-prison  of  the  rebel  angels  after  the  final  judg- 
ment when  they  are  released  from  their  present  chains. 
On  inquiring  for  what  crime  the  stars  (regarded  as  living 
beings)  were  thus  sentenced,  he  is  informed  by  Uriel 

1  These  are  probably  the  darepes  crXaviJT«/,  "  wandering  stars,"  of 
Jude  13. 


that  they  had  transgressed  the  commandment  of  God 
and  came  not  forth  in  their  proper  season.  He  next 
passes  to  the  west,  where  is  Hades,  the  region  where  the 
souls  of  the  dead  are  kept  till  the  judgment ;  it  is  divided 
into  four  places,  unto  one  of  which  all  souls  are  assigned. 
In  the  course  of  his  journeys  he  comes  again  to  the 
seven  fiery  mountains,  and  in  a  beautiful  valley  finds  the 
tree  of  life,  whose  fruit  shall  be  given  to  the  elect. 
Then  going  to  the  centre  of  the  earth,  he  sees  the  holy 
land  and  the  city  Jerusalem,  described  as  "  a  blessed  and 
fruitful  place,  where  there  were  branches  continually 
sprouting  from  the  trees  planted  therein."  Here,  too,  he 
was  shown  the  accursed  valley  (Gehenna),  where  the 
wicked  shall  suffer  their  eternal  penalty  in  the  sight  of 
the  righteous,  who  shall  reign'  in  Zion,  and  praise  the 
Lord  for  His  just  vengeance  on  the  evil-doers.  He 
proceeds  from  Jerusalem  eastward  to  the  earthly  Paradise, 
planted  with  odorous  and  fruit-bearing  trees,  lying  at  the 
very  ends  of  the  earth,  and  containing  the  tree  of  know- 
ledge, of  which  Adam  and  Eve  ate.  Here,  where  the 
vault  of  heaven  rests  on  the  earth,  he  beholds  the  gates 
whence  come  forth  the  stars  and  the  winds,  and,  instructed 
by  the  angel,  writes  their  names  and  order  and  seasons. 
And,  arriving  at  the  north,  he  sees  the  three  gates  of  the 
north-wind,  and,  going  westward  and  southward,  the 
three  gates  of  these  winds.  Conducted  again  to  the  east, 
he  praises  the  Lord  who  created  all  these  wondrous 
things  for  His  glory. 

The  second  division,  contained  in  chaps,  xxxvii.-lxxi., 
is  called  "  The  second  Vision  of  Wisdom,"  and  consists 
of  three  parables,  allegories,  or  similitudes,  through  the 


medium  of  which  Enoch  relates  the  revelations  which  he 
received  concerning  the  ideal  future  and  the  secrets  of 
the  spiritual  world.  Many  of  the  matters  which  he 
mentions  we  should  treat  as  physical  phenomena ;  in  his 
view  they  assume  a  higher  relation,  and  are  therefore 
differentiated  from  the  objects  described  in  the  preceding 
division  which  concerned  only  this  earth  and  the  lower 
heavens.  The  first  similitude  or  figurative  address 
(chaps.  xxxviii.-xliv.)  speaks  first  of  the  time  when  the 
separation  between  the  righteous  and  sinners  shall  be 
made,  and  the  angels  shall  dwell  in  communion  with 
holy  men.  Then  Enoch  relates  how  he  was  carried  to 
the  extremity  of  heaven,  and  saw  the  celestial  abodes 
prepared  for  the  righteous,  where  they  bless  and  magnify 
the  Lord  for  ever  and  ever,  and  the  special  seat  ordained 
for  himself.  He  beholds  the  innumerable  hosts  of  angels 
and  sleepless  spirits  who  surround  the  throne  of  God, 
and  particularly  the  four  archangels,  Michael,  Eaphael, 
Gabriel,  and  Phanuel,  to  whom  are  assigned  special 
duties.  He  is  shown  the  secrets  of  heaven,  the  weighing 
of  men's  actions  in  the  balance,  the  rejection  of  sinners 
from  the  abodes  of  the  just,  the  mysteries  of  thunder  and 
lightning,  winds,  clouds,  dew,  hail,  mist,  sun,  and  moon. 
Of  these  heavenly  bodies  the  regular  course  and  motion 
are  their  praise  of  God  for  creation  and  preservation,  and 
this  ceaseless  praise  is  their  rest.  He  finds  the  habitation 
of  Wisdom  in  heaven,  as  man  on  earth  would  not  receive 
her,  but  welcomed  only  iniquity.  And  lastly,  he  observes 
how  the  stars  are  called  by  name,  and  their  courses 
weighed  and  examined,  and  recognises  in  their  regularity 
and  obedience  a  picture  of  the  life  of  the  righteous  on  earth. 


The  second  similitude  (chaps,  xlv.— Ivii.)  describes  the 
coming  of  "  the  Chosen  One,"  the  Messiah,  and  the 
operations  of  His  judgment  on  the  good  and  the  evil. 
Sinners  shall  be  taken  from  the  earth  and  sent  down  to 
hell  to  await  punishment ;  the  righteous  shall  dwell  with 
Messiah  in  peace  and  happiness.  Enoch  proceeds  to 
give  further  description  of  the  person  and  office  of  Him 
whom  he  calls  "  Son  of  man."  To  this  important 
delineation  we  shall  have  to  refer  in  detail  hereafter ; 
suffice  it  here  to  give  a  mere  outline  of  the  representation. 
He  sees  this  Personification  of  righteousness  in  company 
with  the  Ancient  of  Days,  and  he  is  taught  that  He 
alone  shall  reveal  all  mysteries ;  He  shall  overthrow  all 
worldly  powers,  among  which  are  included  sinners  who 
scorned  and  refused  to  praise  the  Lord,  and  shall  put  an 
end  to  all  unrighteousness.  The  glorification  of  the  elect 
after  the  final  judgment  is  further  revealed,  how  they 
shall  drink  of  the  fountain  of  wisdom  and  righteousness, 
and  hold  full  communion  with  the  saints  and  angels. 
The  Son  of  man  existed  before  the  world  was  created, 
and  shall  be  in  the  presence  of  God  for  ever,  and  shall 
bring  light  and  healing  to  the  people.  In  Him  all 
wisdom  and  righteousness  dwell,  and  at  His  presence 
iniquity  passes  away  like  a  shadow.  In  Messiah's  days 
shall  be  made  the  great  change  in  the  condition  of  the 
good  and  evil,  and  even  then  it  will  not  be  too  late  for 
the  evil  to  repent,  for  great  is  the  mercy  of  the  Lord  of 
spirits.  At  this  time,  too,  shall  occur  the  resurrection  of 
the  dead,  the  righteous  rising  with  their  bodies  to  enjoy 
Messiah's  kingdom,  the  souls  of  the  wicked  being  con- 
signed to  the  place  of  punishment.  There  shall  then  be 


no  use  for  metals ;  gold,  silver,  copper  are  needed  no 
longer  ;  no  earthly  riches  can  save  one  from  judgment. 
A  further  vision  shows  the  place  and  instruments  of 
punishment.  In  the  midst  of  this  account  is  inserted  an 
interpolation  concerning  the  Noachic  Deluge,  which  is  of 
later  date  than  the  visions,  and  is  derived  from  a  different 
source.  Then  follows  a  prophetical  view  of  the  last 
battle  of  the  worldly  powers  against  the  Theocracy,  and 
their  overthrow  before  Jerusalem ;  and  the  final  vision 
displays  the  Israelites  returning  to  their  own  land  from 
all  countries  whither  they  have  been  dispersed,  and 
falling  down  before  the  Lord  of  spirits. 

The  third  address  (chaps.  Iviii.— Ixix.)  contains  a  further 
description  of  the  blessedness  of  the  righteous  contrasted 
with  the  misery  of  sinners  in  Messiah's  kingdom.  In  it 
are  inserted  many  particulars  concerning  the  Deluge,  of 
which  Noah,  not  Enoch,  is  the  narrator.  Probably  these 
portions  have  been  introduced  by  a  later  editor  desirous 
of  showing  how  the  earlier  judgment  was  a  figure  and  an 
anticipation  of  that  in  Messiah's  days.  Likewise,  there 
is  in  this  address  a  recapitulation,  with  some  differences, 
of  those  physical  details  which  have  been  previously 
noticed.  The  blessedness  of  the  saints  is  comprised  in 
light,  joy,  righteousness,  and  everlasting  life.  Amid  the 
intimations  of  the  future  thus  given,  Enoch  also  obtains 
some  curious  lore  concerning  thunder  and  lightning,  the 
manner  and  object  of  their  operation.  Here  follows  the 
interpolation  concerning  the  Flood,  which  introduces  Noah 
receiving  the  vision  "  in  the  five  hundredth  year,  on  the 
fourteenth  day  of  the  seventh  month,  of  the  life  of 
Enoch."  This  is  evidently  out  of  place  and  disconnected 


with  the  immediate  subject.  While  showing  to  Noah 
the  course  of  the  coming  judgment,  the  angel  unfolds 
various  meteorological  secrets,  attributing  all  the  forces 
of  nature  to  the  agency  of  spirits.  Then  the  narrative 
returns  to  the  Messianic  revelation,  and  the  seer  is 
shown  the  new  Jerusalem,  the  abode  of  the  elect ;  he 
sees  the  judgment  of  the  saints,  he  hears  their  praise 
and  worship  of  Almighty  God  in  union  with  all  the  host 
of  heaven ;  he  hears  the  sentence  passed  on  the  mighty 
of  this  world,  who  shall  in  vain  supplicate  the  mercy  of 
the  Son  of  man.  Five  chapters  now  succeed,  containing 
a  further  account  of  revelations  made  to  Noah  concern- 
ing the  Flood,  and  his  deliverance  therefrom,  and  con- 
cerning the  fall  of  the  angels  and  their  punishment,  and 
the  warning  thence  derived  for  the  mighty  of  later  times. 
The  names  of  these  angels  are  given,  and  the  special 
evil  which  each  effected.  One  of  these  is  called  Penemue, 
and  his  sin  was  that  he  taught  men  "  the  art  of  writing 
with  ink  and  paper,  whereby  many  have  gone  astray 
from  that  time  to  the  present." 

The  Book  of  Similitudes  concludes  with  some  personal 
details  about  Enoch  himself.  An  interpolated  paragraph 
relates  that  he  was  taken  up  to  Paradise  ;  but  the  genuine 
text  describes  how  in  an  ecstasy  he  was  raised  to  heaven, 
and  God  promised  to  give  him  a  seat  among  the  saints 
in  the  future  Messianic  kingdom. 

The  third  division  of  the  book,  comprised  in  chapters 
IxxiL-lxxxii.,  is  entitled  "  The  Book  of  the  Eevolutions 
of  the  Lights  of  Heaven,"  and  is  occupied  greatly  with 
astronomical  details,  which  do  not  give  a  high  idea  of 
the  scientific  attainments  of  the  writer.  The  attempt  to 


bring  into  a  system  the  notions  concerning  such  pheno- 
mena scattered  throughout  the  Old  Testament,  in  the 
popular  ignorance  of  science,  could  not  fail  to  produce 
much  error  and  confusion,  and  has  little  interest  for  the 
theologian,  unless  we  conceive  that  they  have  been  in- 
troduced in  order  to  oppose  current  heathen  ideas,  in 
which  case  they  would  have  a  certain  historical  use. 
This  portion  of  the  work  falls  conveniently  into  three 
sections.  Section  1  treats  of  the  courses  of  the  sun, 
moon,  and  stars.  The  regular  revolutions  of  the  sun 
are  explained,  and  the  varying  duration  of  day  and  night 
at  different  seasons ;  the  waxing  and  waning  of  the 
moon  are  described  and  accounted  for ;  it  is  shown  how 
four  intercalary  days  are  rendered  necessary,  and  how 
the  luminaries  go  forth  from  the  twelve  gates  of  heaven. 
In  section  2  the  abodes  and  operations  of  the  winds  are 
noticed.  Three  of  them  proceed  from  each  quarter,  and 
occasion  various  effects,  healthful  or  pernicious.  At  the 
end  is  an  allusion  to  seven  mountains,  rivers,  and  islands, 
which  cannot  be  identified.  The  third  section  reverts  to 
the  subject  of  the  sun  and  moon,  and  gives  the  names 
by  which  they  are  known  and  further  particulars  re- 
specting their  connection  with  one  another.  All  these 
matters,  which  Uriel  showed  to  Enoch,  the  seer  divulges 
to  his  son  Methuselah.  The  angel  likewise  revealed  to 
him  the  changes  in  the  order  of  nature  which  shall 
occur  in  the  days  of  sinners,  in  punishment  of  whom  all 
seeming  irregularities  are  sent.  Before  his  spirit  re- 
turned to  earth,  Enoch  is  bidden  to  read  the  heavenly 
tablets  wherein  all  the  future  was  written,  even  "  all  the 

deeds  of  men,  and  all  the  children  of  flesh  upon  earth, 



unto  the  remotest  generations."  On  perusing  this  record, 
Enoch  breaks  forth  in  praise  of  God ;  he  is  then  con- 
ducted by  "  three  holy  ones "  (i.e.  probably  the  three 
archangels  inferior  to  Michael)  to  his  own  home,  and 
informed  that  he  should  be  left  there  for  one  year, 
during  which  he  should  teach  what  he  had  learned  to 
his  children ;  and  the  section  concludes  with  his  address 
to  Methuselah,  directing  him  to  preserve  with  all  care 
the  writings  committed  to  him,  and  to  note  the  import- 
ance of  correctness  in  matters  connected  with  the  reckon- 
ing of  the  year,  and  the  revolutions  of  the  heavenly 
bodies,  and  the  changes  of  the  seasons. 

The  fourth  division  of  the  book  (chaps.  Ixxxiii.— xci.) 
recounts  two  visions  which  Enoch  saw  before  he  was 
married,  while  sleeping  in  the  house  of  his  grandfather 
Malalel  (Mahalaleel).  The  first  vision  relates  to  the 
Flood ;  he  sees  the  earth  sinking  into  a  great  abyss,  and 
prays  that  God  will  not  wholly  destroy  the  whole  race 
of  man,  satisfying  His  just  wrath  by  punishing  only  the 
evil.  The  second  vision  is  more  comprehensive  and 
important;  it  embraces  the  history  of  the  world  from 
Adam  until  the  establishment  of  the  kingdom  of  Messiah. 
The  account  is  derived  almost  entirely  from  the  canonical 
Scripture,  a  transparent  symbolism  being  used  throughout. 
Men  are  represented  under  the  image  of  animals,  the 
patriarchs  and  chosen  people  being  denoted  by  domesti- 
cated animals,  as  cows  and  sheep,  while  heathen  and 
oppressive  enemies  are  designated  as  wild  beasts  and 
birds  of  prey.  The  fallen  angels  are  called  stars ;  and 
the  colours  of  the  animals  are  symbolical — white  for 
purity  and  righteousness,  black  for  wickedness  and  dis- 


obedience.  Thus  concerning  primitive  man  we  read, 
a  white  bullock  (Adam)  sprang  forth  from  the  earth, 
<md  then  a  white  cow  (Eve),  and  afterwards  there  came 
a  black  bullock  (Cain)  and  a  red  (Abel).  The  black 
bullock  slew  the  red  which  vanished  from  the  earth. 
And  this  black  bullock  begat  many  black  cattle.  And 
the  white  cow  gave  birth  to  a  white  bullock  (Seth), 
which  in  turn  begat  much  white  cattle.  In  this  way 
the  history  is  allegorised.  The  offspring  of  the  inter- 
course of  the  angels  with  the  daughters  of  men  is 
adumbrated  as  elephants,  camels,  and  asses.  The  arch- 
angels' defeat  of  these  sinful  spirits  Enoch  beholds  from 
a  high  place  where  he  remains  till  the  day  of  judgment. 
Thence  he  sees  the  advance  of  the  Flood,  and  Noah's 
preservation  in  the  vessel ;  his  three  sons  are  respectively 
white,  red,  and  black,  and  the  severance  of  the  Shemites 
from  the  others  is  distinctly  noticed.  The  history  of  the 
Israelites  is  traced  from  Abraham  to  Moses,  then  to  the 
settlement  in  the  Holy  Land ;  then  we  have  the  time  of 
the  Judges,  and  the  annals  are  continued  on  through  the 
Kings  to  the  Exile.  The  restoration  is  duly  chronicled, 
and  oppressions  under  the  Greeks  and  Syrians  are  darkly 
foreshadowed.  In  chap.  Ixxxix.  the  Lord  delivers  the 
sheep  into  the  power  of  lions,  tigers,  and  other  beasts  of 
prey,  which  began  to  tear  them  in  pieces.  He  Himself 
forsook  their  house  and  tower,  which,  however,  were  not 
now  destroyed.  The  seer's  words  in  the  following  para- 
graph have  proved  a  crux  to  all  interpreters.  The  Lord 
commits  the  punishment  of  the  chosen  people,  repre- 
sented as  sheep,  to  seventy  shepherds,  who  rule  suc- 
cessively in  four  series,  in  the  proportion  of  twelve, 


twenty-three,  twenty-three,  twelve.  "  I  saw  until  three 
and  twenty  shepherds  overlooked  the  herd,  and  they 
completed  in  their  time  fifty-eight  times.  Then  were 
little  lamhs  born  of  those  white  sheep,  and  they  began 
to  open  their  eyes  and  to  see  and  to  cry  out  to  the 
sheep.  And  the  sheep  hearkened  not  unto  them.  And 
the  ravens  flew  upon  the  lambs,  and  took  one  of  them, 
and  tore  and  devoured  the  sheep.  And  I  saw  horns 
grow  upon  those  lambs,  and  the  ravens  threw  down  the 
horns,  until  one  great  horn  grew,  one  from  those  sheep, 
and  then  their  eyes  were  opened.  It  looked  upon  them, 
and  cried  unto  them,  and  the  youths  (the  lambs)  saw  it 
and  ran  unto  it."  Then  comes  an  account  of  a  terrible 
conflict  between  the  birds  of  prey  and  the  lambs ;  but 
the  former  could  not  prevail  against  the  horn.  "  He 
(the  horn)  struggled  with  them,  and  cried  out  for  help. 
And  there  came  the  man  who  wrote  the  names  of  the 
shepherds  and  laid  them  before  the  Lord  of  the  sheep, 
and  he  came  to  the  assistance  of  the  youth ;  and  the 
Lord  Himself  came  in  wrath,  and  all  who  saw  Him  fled 
away  before  His  face  ;  while  the  birds  assembled  together, 
and  brought  with  them  all  the  sheep  of  the  field  to  break 
the  horn  of  the  youth."  But  their  efforts  are  vain,  and 
in  the  end  they  are  themselves  destroyed  by  the  Lord. 
This  defeat  introduces  the  Messianic  epoch,  when  Israel 
shall  rise  superior  to  the  heathen,  and  Messiah  shall 
judge  all  sinners,  whether  angels  or  men,  and  shall  estab- 
lish the  new  Jerusalem,  which  shall  be  filled  with  a  holy 
people  gathered  from  all  quarters. 

This  portion  of  the  work  closes  with  an  address  of 
Enoch  to  his  children,  exhorting  them  to  lead  a  holy  life, 


founding  his  lecture  on  the  certainty  of  the  future  which 
the  preceding  visions  have  delineated. 

The  fifth  division  of  the  book  (chaps,  xcii.— cv.)  is 
called  "An  Instruction  of  Wisdom,"  and  contains  the 
practical  application  of  the  four  preceding  portions, 
addressed  by  Enoch  primarily  to  his  own  family,  and 
then  to  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth.  He  opens  the 
subject  by  predicting  the  resurrection  of  the  righteous 
and  the  destruction  of  sinners.  "The  righteous,"  he 
says,  "  shall  arise  from  sleep  and  advance  in  the  way 
of  righteousness,  and  his  whole  walk  shall  be  in  eternal 
goodness  and  grace.  Mercy  shall  be  shown  him ;  he 
shall  receive  dominion,  and  walk  in  everlasting  light ; 
but  sin  shall  perish  in  darkness  for  ever,  and  shall  no 
more  be  seen  from  this  day  forward."  Before  he  begins 
his  exhortation,  he  recounts  in  brief  what  he  had  seen  in 
visions  and  had  read  in  the  heavenly  tablets  concerning 
the  ten  weeks  of  the  world,  of  which  seven  belong  to  the 
historical  past,  three  to  the  apocalyptical  future.  The 
first  week  is  concerned  with  Enoch,  the  second  with 
Noah,  the  third  with  Abraham,  the  fourth  with  Moses, 
the  fifth  with  the  building  of  the  temple,  the  sixth  with 
its  destruction,  the  seventh  with  the  introduction  of  an 
apostate  generation.  He  intimates  that  he  himself  lived 
at  the  end  of  the  first  week.  This  would  be  in  due 
accordance  with  the  personification.  The  eighth  week  is 
the  commencement  of  the  Messianic  era,  when  the  sword 
of  the  righteous  shall  overcome  the  oppressors,  and  the 
new  Jerusalem  shall  be  established.  In  the  ninth  week 
the  knowledge  of  Jehovah  shall  be  spread  over  the  world, 
and  all  men  shall  be  forced  to  acknowledge  His  power 


and  equity.  The  tenth  and  last  week  ushers  in  the  final 
judgment  on  angels  and  men :  the  old  world  shall  pass 
away,  and  a  new  heaven  shall  appear,  and  earthly  life 
shall  be  merged  in  the  heavenly.  After  this  preliminary 
apocalyptical  address,  the  hortatory  portion  follows,  the 
admonitions  to  the  righteous  and  to  sinners  being  inter- 
mixed. The  former  are  exhorted  to  continue  stedfast 
in  their  integrity,  and  woe  is  denounced  on  various  classes 
of  the  latter.  The  seer  weeps  to  think  of  the  oppression 
of  the  good  at  the  hands  of  the  evil,  but  is  comforted  by 
the  knowledge  of  the  final  victory  of  the  saints  at  the 
coming  of  Messiah,  and  the  punishment  of  the  unrighteous. 
Then  he  sternly  reproaches  sinners,  detailing  their  folly 
in  many  instances,  and  showing  what  judgment  shall  be 
awarded  them.  Finally  he  turns  again  to  the  righteous, 
comforts  them  in  their  tribulations,  exhorts  them  to  hope 
and  patience  by  exhibiting  their  future  happy  lot  and 
blessedness.  They  can  die  in  peace,  because  for  them 
death  is  the  entrance  to  a  better  life.  And  to  enforce 
his  words  he  solemnly  adds :  "  I  swear  to  you,  ye 
righteous,  by  His  mighty  power  and  glory,  by  His  king- 
dom and  majesty,  I  comprehend  this  mystery,  and  have 
read  the  heavenly  tablets,  and  have  seen  the  book  of  the 
holy  ones,  and  have  found  written  therein  that  all  good- 
ness, joy,  and  honour  are  prepared  for  the  spirits  of  those 
who  have  died  in  righteousness,  and  that  with  much  good 
shall  ye  be  recompensed  for  your  troubles,  and  your  lot 
shall  be  better  than  that  of  the  living."  l  And  these  books 
of  his  shall  be  handed  down  to  posterity  and  translated 

1  The  passage  inserted  in  chap.  xci.  12-17  plainly  belongs  to  chap, 
xciii.,  and  has  been  rightly  introduced  there  by  Laurence. 


into  different  languages,  and  shall  be  to  the  good  a 
source  of  joy,  righteousness,  and  wisdom,  and  all  who 
believe  in  them  and  have  learned  the  lessons  there 
taught  shall  receive  the  reward.  The  section  ends  with 
the  Lord's  own  words :  "  I  and  my  Son  will  unite 
Ourselves  with  them  for  ever,  because  they  have  walked 
in  the  paths  of  uprightness.  And  peace  shall  be  upon 
you ;  rejoice,  ye  children  of  righteousness,  in  truth." 

The  book  might  naturally  terminate  here,  but,  appar- 
ently by  another  hand,  two  sections  are  added,  one  con- 
cerning the  supernatural  circumstances  attending  the 
birth  of  Noah  and  the  prediction  of  the  Flood  (cvi.-cvii.); 
and  the  other  consisting  of  a  writing  of  Enoch  respecting 
the  reward  of  the  righteous  and  the  punishment  of  the 
wicked,  composed,  as  he  says,  "  for  his  son  Methuselah, 
and  for  those  who  should  come  after  him,  and  observe 
the  law  in  the  last  days"  (cviii.).  Here  he  mentions 
how  in  his  journeyings  he  has  seen  the  place  of  torment, 
which  he  describes  as  a  waste  outside  the  earth,  and  a 
bottomless  sea  of  fire.  The  work  thus  concludes  with 
God's  promise  to  the  righteous :  "  I  will  bring  into 
brilliant  light  those  who  love  my  holy  name,  and  set 
them  each  on  his  throne  of  glory ;  and  they  shall  shine 
for  endless  ages ;  for  righteous  is  the  judgment  of  God, 
and  to  the  true  will  He  give  truth  in  the  habitation  of 
uprightness.  And  they  shall  see  how  those  who  were 
born  in  darkness  shall  into  darkness  be  cast,  while  the 
righteous  shine.  And  sinners  shall  cry  out,  and  shall 
see  how  these  glow  with  light,  and  shall  continue  in  their 
punishment  all  the  times  prescribed  for  them." 

The   uncritical   receptivity   of    primitive   Christianity 


regarded  the  name  attached  to  this  book  as  a  sufficient 
attestation  of  its  genuineness.  Thus,  as  we  have  seen, 
Tertullian,  while  acknowledging  that  some  in  his  day 
declined  to  accept  the  work,  because  it  was  not  included 
in  the  "  Armarium  Judaicum,"  the  Hebrew  canon,  himself 
opined  that  it  was  written  by  Enoch,  and  either  pre- 
served in  the  time  of  the  Flood,  or  restored  by  Noah 
under  Divine  inspiration.  Nor  have  there  been  wanting 
some  good  people  in  our  own  times,  with  more  credulity 
than  critical  ability,  who  have  freely  accepted  the  ante- 
diluvian authorship  and  endeavoured  to  prove  that  the 
writer  was  inspired  to  predict  events  down  to  modern 
times.  I  have  seen  some  passages  in  our  book  distorted 
even  to  enunciate  the  claims  and  operations  of  the  British 
and  Foreign  Bible  Society  and  the  sinister  actions  of 
Eussian  politics.  But  leaving  these  dreams,  let  us  come 
to  something  more  practical.  No  one  nowadays  believes 
that  the  patriarch  Enoch  had  any  hand  in  the  com- 
position of  the  book  which  bears  his  name.  This 
appellation  is  only  another  example  of  the  pseudepi- 
graphic  idea  which  dominated  so  many  writers  in  the 
period  immediately  preceding  and  succeeding  the  com- 
mencement of  the  Christian  era.  The  sanctity  and 
remarkable  destiny  of  Enoch,  the  hoar  antiquity  with 
which  he  was  associated,  designated  him  as  a  fit  person- 
age to  be  the  mouthpiece  of  revelations  designed  for  a 
special  purpose  and  needing  the  authorisation  of  a  great 
name.  One  who  himself  had  been  admitted  to  immediate 
intercourse  with  the  Most  High  was  peculiarly  fitted  to 
reveal  Divine  mysteries.  That  no  allusion  to  the  pro- 
duction is  made  in  the  Old  Testament  is  obvious ;  that 


some  portion  of  it  was  extant  in  the  first  Christian 
century  is  certified  by  the  quotation  in  St.  Jude's  Epistle. 
But  this  certainty  will  carry  us  but  a  little  way,  as  no 
one  can  read  the  work  without  concluding  that  it  is  not 
the  composition  of  one  author  or  one  age,  but  exhibits 
difference  of  origin  and  date ;  and  if  the  section  from 
which  Jude  took  his  extract  presupposes  a  Jewish  and 
pre-Christian  source,  other  parts  may  be  of  quite  another 
character  and  have  no  pretension  to  any  such  claim.  It 
is  a  difficult  matter  (even  when  we  have  distributed  the 
work  into  its  several  sections)  to  determine  the  relation 
of  these  parts  to  each  other,  and  to  assign  to  them  their 
proper  position  in  the  treatise.  There  is  no  external 
testimony  to  appeal  to,  and  we  must  be  guided  in  our 
conclusions  entirely  by  internal  considerations. 

Now  in  all  these  writings  occurs  this  marked  charac- 
teristic. There  is  past  history  given  in  the  form  of 
revelation,  combined  with  hopes  and  predictions  of  the 
future.  In  the  former  case  events  are  pretty  accurately 
represented,  either  actually  or  symbolically ;  in  the  latter 
the  seer  allows  himself  free  latitude  for  the  display  of 
imagination  and  the  possible  development  of  previous 
prophetic  hints.  The  difficulty  consists  in  exactly  de- 
fining the  point  where  history  terminates  and  prediction 
commences.  Usually  no  hint  is  given  of  any  such  inter- 
change ;  one  phase  passes  into  the  other  with  nothing  to 
mark  the  passage.  If  in  any  particular  instance  we 
could  say  with  certainty,  here  the  author  writes  of 
contemporary  events,  and  here  he  crosses  from  the  actual 
to  the  ideal,  we  should  at  once  possess  a  criterion  for 
determining  the  date  of  the  composition.  Some  such 


opportunity  is  supposed  to  be  found  in  chap,  xc.,  where 
at  ver.  16  the  emblematical  account  of  past  history 
merges  into  the  expectations  of  the  future.  The  vision 
to  which  we  refer  (chaps.  Ixxxv.— xc.)  traces  the  annals 
of  Israel  from  Adam  to  the  great  consummation  of 
mundane  affairs.  If  our  readers  will  refer  to  the  previous 
account  of  the  contents  of  the  book,  they  will  see  that 
in  this  Apocalypse  the  chosen  people  are  represented 
under  the  image  of  domesticated  animals,  while  heathens 
and  enemies  are  denoted  by  wild  beasts  and  birds  of 
prey.  The  allusions  are  fairly  intelligible  unto  the 
Captivity ;  but  now  comes  the  paragraph  which  has 
exercised  the  ingenuity  of  interpreters,  and  upon  the 
exposition  of  which  the  determination  of  one  date 
depends.  About  the  time  of  the  destruction  of  Jeru- 
salem the  Lord  commits  the  punishment  of  the  chosen 
people  to  seventy  shepherds,  who  are  told  which  victims 
they  were  to  allow  to  be  killed  by  the  wild  beasts,  and 
how  many,  at  the  same  time  intimating  that  they  will 
exceed  their  commission  and  destroy  many  more  than 
the  appointed  number.  Likewise  He  ordered  "  Another  " 
to  note  the  number  of  sheep  thus  destroyed.  These 
shepherds  executed  their  commission,  and  delivered  the 
sheep  into  the  hands  of  the  lions  and  tigers,  who  burnt 
the  tower  and  demolished  the  house.  But  the  shepherds 
gave  over  to  the  beasts  many  more  than  they  were 
ordered  to  do.  And  when  they  had  ruled  for  twelve 
hours,  three  of  the  sheep  returned  and  began  to  rebuild 
the  house  and  tower.  But  the  sheep  mingled  with  the 
beasts,  and  the  shepherds  rescued  them  not.  When 
thirty-five  shepherds  had  fed  them,  birds  of  prey  attacked 


them;  and  when  twenty-three  shepherds  had  tended  the 
flock,  and  fifty-eight  times  were  completed  in  all,  then 
little  lambs  were  born  with  the  results  of  which  we  read 
above.  These  seventy  shepherds  are  divided  into  four 
series,  consisting  respectively  of  12,  23,  23,  12 
members.  The  last  of  these  members  would  bring  us 
to  the  author's  own  time.  Can  we  with  any  probability 
elucidate  this  riddle  ?  The  explanations  have  been  as 
numerous  as  the  commentators,  and  we  might  easily 
refute  their  theories  by  simply  comparing  one  with  the 
other.  Out  of  the  confusion  thus  created  we  may  thank 
Dillmann  and  Ewald  for  helping  to  deliver  us.  They 
and  others1  have  seen  that  an  attempt  was  here  made  to 
give  a  new  interpretation  to  the  seventy  years  of  which 
Jeremiah  had  spoken  as  the  period  of  the  Captivity,  and 
which  had  not  been  followed  by  that  complete  restora- 
tion which  had  been  anticipated.  Hereupon  the  literal 
exposition  was  surrendered ;  and  another  theory  was 
started  which  would  account  for  the  partial  failure  and 
point  to  its  remedy.  The  seventy  shepherds,  according 
to  these  interpreters,  are  foreign  and  heathen  rulers, 
represented  in  the  prophets  as  seventy  weeks ;  and  they 
continue  to  oppress  the  chosen  people  till  overcome  by 
the  great  horn,  whose  victories  herald  the  advent  of  the 
Messiah.  There  is  great  difficulty  in  defining  the 
seventy  rulers,  and  it  is  only  with  much  accommodation 
that  history  can  be  forced  into  agreement  with  the 
writer's  supposed  idea.  Hence  it  has  been  proposed  to 
see  in  these  shepherds,  not  kings,  but  angels  appointed 
to  superintend  the  chastisement  of  Israel  at  the  hands 
1  Especially  Drummond,  Stanton,  and  Schurer. 


of    her    enemies.       As    Drummond     points    out,    these 
shepherds  receive  their  commission  at   the  same   time, 
which  would  hardly  have  been  the  case  had  they  repre- 
sented successive  monarchs.     And  further,  at  the  judg- 
ment in  the  delectable  land  they  are  placed  with  the 
fallen   angels;    and   the   one   who   is    deputed   to   write 
down  the  number  of  sheep  destroyed  is  called  "  another  " 
(angel) ;  while  the  duty  of  protecting  the  flock  from  the 
wild   beasts  could  not   have  been  entrusted  to   Gentile 
powers.1     If,  however,  we  held  the  usual  interpretation 
of  the  vision,  we  should  have  to  explain  it  in  the  follow- 
ing way : — The  first  group  of  twelve  shepherds  comprises 
five  Assyrian  kings,  three  Chaldnean  and  four  Egyptian, 
from  Necho  II.  to  Amasis,  under  whom,  more  or  less,  the 
Israelites  suffered  injuries.     The  second  group  of  twenty- 
three   consists   of    Persian  monarchs,   from   Darius   and 
Cyrus.     These    12  +  23   make  up   35,  the  half  of  the 
seventy.     The  next    group,  consisting   also   of    twenty- 
three,   is   composed   of    Grreco-  Macedonian   kings,   from 
Alexander   to   his   successors,  the   Ptolemies,   Seleucidse, 
down  to  Antiochus  Epiphanes.     The  final  twelve  range 
in  the  Syrian  line,  from  this   Antiochus   to  the  close  of 
the  reign  of  Demetrius  II.     This  lands  us  at  B.C.  125. 
The  attempt,  however,  at  exact  interpretation  is  eminently 
unsatisfactory,  while  the  general  features  of  the  scheme 
are  clear  enough ;  and  following  Schiirer's  lucid  explana- 
tion, we   may  arrange   the  matter  thus.     The   seventy 
shepherds  are  angels  entrusted  with  the  superintendence 
and  punishment  of  Israel,  who  neglected  their  duty  and 

1  See  chaps.  Ixxxvii.  2,  xc.  20  ff.     Drummond,  p.  40  ;  Schiirer, 
p.  64. 


were  doomed  to  hell.  The  time  of  the  Gentile  supremacy 
is  divided  into  four  periods,  two  of  shorter  and  two  of 
longer  duration,  as  we  have  seen  above.  The  first 
period  begins  from  the  date  of  the  earliest  Gentile 
invasion  (e.g.  Assyrian)  to  the  return  in  the  days  of 
Cyrus,  the  three  returning  sheep  being  Zerubbabel,  Ezra, 
and  Nehemiah.  The  second  period  reaches  from  Cyrus 
to  Alexander  the  Great,  the  substitution  of  birds  of  prey 
for  wild  beasts  (xc.  2)  marking  the  transition  from 
Persians  to  Greeks.  The  third  extends  from  Alexander 
to  Antiochus  Epiphanes,  the  lambs  symbolising  the 
Maccabees.  And  the  fourth  extends  from  the  com- 
mencement of  the  Maccabsean  to  the  author's  own  time. 
This  brings  us  to  the  "last  third  of  the  second  century 
B.C."  The  stirring  events  of  the  previous  twenty  or 
twenty-five  years  are  symbolically  depicted.  The  little 
lambs  of  the  vision  are  the  pious  who  rose  against  the 
Syrian  tyrants,  the  ravens  who  tore  and  devoured  them ; 
the  sheep  with  horns  are  the  Maccaboean  leaders,  who  at 
first  had  but  little  success ;  and  one  of  them  in  particular 
was  carried  off  by  the  enemy.  This  is  Jonathan,  the  son 
of  Mattathias,1  who,  B.C.  143,  was  treacherously  murdered 
by  Tryphon  in  Gilead.  In  similiar  figures  are  repre- 
sented the  defeat  and  death  of  Judas  and  Simon.  The 
great  horn  which  afforded  refuge  to  the  persecuted  is 
John  Hyrcanus,  and  the  account  of  the  terrible  conflict 
between  him  and  the  enemies  of  Israel  merges  here  into 

1  This  Mattathias  was  the  youngest  brother  of  the  great  Judas 
Maccabseus.  The  "  great  horn  "  is  by  some  supposed  to  represent 
Judas  himself,  but  the  particulars  of  the  vision  do  not  well  suit  this 
theory.  See  Dillmann  and  Stanton. 


the  apocalyptical  future.  So  it  is  at  this  point  that  we 
may  place  the  meeting  of  history  and  revelation,  and 
consequently  the  composition  of  this  portion  of  our 

But  our  task  is  by  no  means  ended  even  if  we  have 
satisfactorily  determined  the  age  of  one  section.  Were 
the  work  one  whole,  and  evidently  the  production  of  one 
author,  to  fix  the  date  of  one  portion  would  be  sufficient 
to  determine  the  approximate  date  of  the  rest.  But  we 
have  every  reason  to  see  in  the  various  divisions  different 
authors  and  different  times  of  composition.  Without 
entering  minutely  into  details,  we  may  say  that  it  is  now 
generally  agreed  that  at  least  three  authors  have  con- 
tributed to  the  work.  The  earliest  portion,  and  that 
which  forms  the  ground -work  of  the  whole  (omitting 
certain  interpolations),  is  found  in  chaps.  i.-xxxvi.  and 
lxxii.-cv.  If  the  author  of  the  historical  vision  were 
the  writer  of  this  portion,  the  date  of  the  greater  part  of 
the  whole  work  would  be  determined.  There  is  nothing 
to  guide  one  to  the  date  in  the  first  thirty-six  chapters, 
but  in  the  latter  part  of  this  section  there  are  plain 
intimations  of  the  same  conclusion  that  has  already 
been  reached.  The  writer  in  chaps,  xciii.  1-14  and 
xci.  12-17  (which  has  been  displaced)  gives  another 
sketch  of  the  world's  history  divided  into  ten  weeks,  or 
periods.  In  agreement  with  the  personification,  Enoch 
intimates  that  he  himself  lived  at  the  close  of  the  first 
epoch.  The  next  five  weeks  are  marked  with  tolerable 
distinctness  as  the  epoch  of  Noah,  of  Abraham  and  Isaac, 
of  Moses,  of  Solomon,  of  the  Captivity.  At  the  end  of 
the  seventh  week  comes  the  vision  of  Messiah's  kingdom. 


We  have  to  determine  the  duration  of  this  last  period. 
It  is  impossible  to  affix  any  definite  number  of  years  to 
each  week,  as  the  duration  of  each  plainly  varies  most 
considerably ;  it  has  therefore  seemed  expedient  to 
reckon  by  generations,  counting  seven  to  a  week  in  the 
earlier  times  and  fourteen  in  the  later  periods.1  This 
looks  like  an  arbitrary  proceeding,  one  of  those  accom- 
modations to  which  critics  resort  in  order  to  confirm  a 
foregone  conclusion.  But  there  are  substantial  grounds 
in  this  case  for  the  notion.  It  will  be  seen  that  seven 
generations  each  will  cover  the  first  five  weeks,  the  first 
being  from  Adam  to  Enoch,  the  last  from  Salmon  to 
Eehoboam.  The  sixth,  according  to  Drummond's  calcula- 
tion (omitting,  as  in  St.  Matthew,  Ahaziah,  Joash,  and 
Amaziah),  consists  of  fourteen  generations  from  Abijam 
to  Salathiel.  The  seventh,  taking  the  series  of  high 
priests,  and  excluding  Jason,  Menelaus,  and  Alcimus,  as 
Philo-Grrecists,  ends  with  Jonathan,  Simon,  and  John 
Hyrcanus  —  thus  landing  us  at  the  result  previously 
obtained  by  another  road.  Of  course,  there  is  a  doubt 
concerning  the  conclusion  of  the  series ;  but  in  any  case 
the  discrepancy  will  amount  to  little  more  than  twenty 
years,  and  the  date  of  composition  of  this  portion  of  the 
work  may  be  fixed  between  B.C.  153  and  130,  or  in  the 
latter  half  of  the  second  century  before  Christ.2 

If  we  are  satisfied  with  the  results  thus  obtained  (and 

1  Drummond,  p.  42. 

2  There  is  an  allusion  in  this  vision  which  seems  to  imply  that 
the  book  was  composed  in  this  seventh  week.      It  is  said  (chap, 
xciii.  10)  that  in  this  week  to  the  just  "  shall  be  given  sevenfold 
instruction  concerning  every  part  of  His  creation."     This,  doubtless, 
refers  to  the  portion  of  our  work  which  treats  of  natural  phenomena. 


nothing  more  reliable  is  to  be  discovered),  we  have 
settled  the  approximate  age  of  two  considerable  portions 
of  our  book.  Another  section  (chaps,  xxxvii.-lxxi.), 
containing  the  three  parables  or  similitudes,  affords  little 
internal  help  for  determining  its  date.  It  is  evidently  a 
section  distinguished  from  the  rest  in  character  and 
treatment.  There  is  a  difference  in  the  use  of  the  names 
of  God,  who  is  called  in  this  part  "  Lord  of  spirits,"  in 
the  angelology,  the  eschatology,  and  especially  in  the 
doctrine  of  the  Messiah,  which  is  much  more  prominent 
and  definite  than  in  the  other  divisions.  Another 
peculiarity  to  which  Kostlin  directs  attention  is,  that 
contrasted  with  the  pious  are  not  the  ungodly  in  general 
(as  commonly  elsewhere),  but  Gentile  rulers  and  the 
mighty  ones  of  earth.  Ewald  finds  herein  a  reason  for 
considering  this  to  be  earlier  than  the  rest,  because  the 
enemies  denounced  are  foreign  and  heathen,  while  in 
the  other  parts  the  sinners  are  faithless  and  renegade 
Israelites,  such  as  were  not  heard  of  till  the  time  of 
Antiochus  Epiphanes.  But  on  the  same  ground  Hilgen- 
feld  concludes  that  it  was  written  after  the  fall  of 
Jerusalem ;  so  that  no  argument  can  be  securely  based 
on  this  peculiarity.  There  is  one  historical  allusion 
which  has  been  supposed  to  give  a  hint  in  this  direction. 
In  chap.  Ivi.  we  are  told  that  the  Parthians  and  Medes 
shall  work  destruction  in  the  Holy  Land,  and  shall  in 
turn  suffer  vengeance  at  the  hand  of  the  Lord,  turning 
upon  and  destroying  one  another ;  and  it  is  argued  hence 
that  an  incursion  by  them  had  recently  happened,  as  in 
B.C.  40,  when  they  overran  Phosnicia  and  Palestine,1  or 
1  Joseph.  Antiq.  xiv.  13  ;  Bell.  Jud.  i.  13. 


that  at  any  rate  they  were  the  enemies  most  dreaded  in  the 
author's  time.  But  the  inference  is  wholly  unwarranted. 
The  writer  is  not  referring  to  any  historical  events  that 
had  come  under  his  own  cognisance,  but  is  giving 
expression  to  his  predictive  anticipations  based  on  the 
revelation  of  Ezekiel,  chaps,  xxxviii.,  xxxix.  A  surer 
criterion  is  found  in  the  Messianic  references,  which 
show  marked  development  when  compared  with  the 
statements  in  the  former  part,  as  we  shall  see  later  on. 
It  is  also  noted  that,  while  the  Book  of  Jubilees  (which 
we  suppose  to  have  been  written  at  the  earliest  in  the 
century  preceding  the  Christian  era)  shows  acquaintance 
with  other  portions  of  our  work,  it  never  makes  any 
allusion  to  the  marked  peculiarities  of  these  three 
parables.  From  this  we  gather  that  this  section  was 
unknown  to  the  writer  of  the  "  Jubilees,"  or  was  then 
not  extant.  The  language  used  at  the  commencement  of 
the  section  implies  the  existence  of  other  books  of  Enoch. 
We  here  read,  "  The  second  vision  of  wisdom,  which 
Enoch  saw  ; "  and  the  "  similitudes  "  which  succeed  are 
evidently  the  complement  of  the  preceding  revelations, 
introducing  themes  of  higher  character,  and  rising  from 
mundane  and  material  elements  to  matters  of  heavenly 
and  spiritual  signification.  We  may  reasonably  con- 
jecture that  it  was  composed  some  few  years  later  than 
the  preceding  portion. 

There  remain  the  Noachian  sections  which  are  intro- 
duced often  most  inappropriately,  and  are  now  found  in 
chaps,  liv.  7-lv.  2,lxv.— Ixix.,  cvi.-cvii.,  and  scattered  con- 
fusedly in  some   other   places.1      In  chap.  Ixviii.  1,  the 
1  E.g.  xxxix.  1,  2,  lx.,  and  perhaps  xvii.  and  xix. 


Book  of  the  Allegories  of  Enoch  is  expressly  mentioned, 
so  that  these  paragraphs  must  be  of  later  date.  They 
are  probably  derived  from  some  lost  Apocalypse  of  Noah, 
and  have  been  inserted  by  some  late  editor,  who, 
without  much  critical  skill,  wove  the  materials  into  a 
form  which  would  give  a  quasi  unity  to  the  whole.  The 
last  chapter  (cviii.)  is  probably  the  latest  of  all,  though 
there  is  nothing  in  it  to  determine  its  date  accurately. 

The  great  fact  which  seems  most  surely  ascertained  is 
that  the  Book  of  Enoch  is,  with  the  exception  of  some 
few  possible  interpolations,  of  pre-Christian  origin.  It 
was  written  certainly  before  the  Eomans  had  obtained 
possession  of  Palestine,  as  throughout  the  whole  work  there 
is  no  mention  whatever  of  them,  and  they  never  appear 
as  the  enemies  of  Israel.  No  knowledge  of  the  New 
Testament  is  anywhere  exhibited ;  the  name  of  Jesus 
never  appears ;  His  death  and  resurrection  are  not 
mentioned ; l  all  that  is  of  Christological  import  might 
fairly  be  gathered  from  the  Old  Testament.  The  writer 
especially  had  studied  the  prophecies  of  Daniel,  and 
derived  much  of  his  language  and  matter  therefrom, 
amplifying  what  he  found  in  previous  utterances,  and 
colouring  it  with  his  own  poetical  and  often  crude 

As  to  the  place  where  the  authors  lived,  we  have  good 
reason  for  asserting  this  to  be  Palestine.  This  situation 

1  It  is  curious  that  in  the  Testaments  of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs, 
under  Levi,  occurs  an  allusion  to  a  prediction  of  Messiah's  rejection, 
death,  and  resurrection,  stated  to  be  found  in  the  Book  of  Enoch.    No 
such  passage  is  now  extant  in  that  work,  and  if  it  ever  existed,  it 
was  probably  a  Christian  interpolation. 

2  See  Dr.  Pusey's  Lectures  on  Daniel,  pp.  382  ff. 


best  accords  with  the  circumstances  revealed  in  the 
various  treatises.  Here  we  find  individuals  and  the 
nation  oppressed  by  foreign  influence,  and  fervent  aspira- 
tions for  relief  and  freedom,  showing  a  state  of  things 
which  could  only  be  experienced  in  the  Holy  Land  itself. 
The  attempts  which  have  been  made  to  determine  the 
writers'  locality  by  reference  to  the  astronomy  and 
geography  of  the  treatises  are  quite  futile.  In  both 
sciences  the  seers  were  far  from  being  adepts,  and  to 
guide  oneself  to  a  decision  through  the  fog  of  imaginary 
and  erroneous  details  is  a  hopeless  task. 

Nothing  can  be  determined  concerning  the  names  of 
the  authors.  Does  the  Apostle  Jude,  by  quoting  a 
passage  in  the  book  as  the  production  of  "  Enoch,  the 
seventh  from  Adam,"  authorise  the  attribution  of  the 
work  or  of  this  section  to  the  patriarch  ?  Such  has  been 
the  contention  of  some,  who  hold  that  the  passage  in 
question  at  any  rate  was  a  fragment  handed  down  by 
tradition  from  antediluvian  times.  But  the  verse  is 
manifestly  an  integral  part  of  the  paragraph  in  which  it 
appears,  exactly  suitable  to  and  connected  with  the 
existing  context,  and  it  must  meet  with  the  same  treat- 
ment at  our  hands  as  the  rest  of  the  section.  We  have 
seen  to  what  date  we  must  relegate  this  book,  and  that 
it  has  no  pretension  to  any  such  hoar  antiquity  as  the 
critics  above  would  assign  to  it.  Doubtless  it  was  well 
known  in  early  Christian  times,  and  Jude  and  his  con- 
temporaries were  familiar  with  it.  Without  any  idea  of 
giving  a  decided  opinion  concerning  its  authorship,  and 
citing  the  words  merely  in  illustration  of  his  statement 
{as  St.  Paul  quoted  Menander  and  Aratus),  Jude  cursorily 


appeals  to  a  work  with  which  his  readers  were  familiar, 
and  gives  it  that  title  by  which  it  was  generally  known. 
By  using  this  quotation  for  a  special  purpose,  Jude  does 
not  give  his  sanction  to  the  whole  contents  of  the.  work 
in  which  it  is  now  contained.  All  that  he  endorses  with 
his  authority  is  this  particular  passage  ;  and  in  attributing 
it  to  Enoch,  he  is  speaking  either  from  direct  inspiration, 
or,  as  is  more  probable,  merely  repeating  current  tradition. 
We  may  confidently  affirm  that  of  the  authors  who  more 
or  less  have  contributed  to  the  book  in  its  entirety  we 
know  nothing ;  nor,  indeed,  have  we  any  grounds  for 
conjecturing  their  identity.  That  they  were  more  than 
one  is  proved  by  the  different  uses  and  expressions  which 
obtain  in  the  several  portions ;  e.g.  (as  we  have  already 
observed)  the  title  Lord  of  spirits,  applied  to  Clod  so 
commonly  in  one  section,  is  not  found  elsewhere ;  the 
angelology  differs ;  the  Messianic  presentation  is  not 
identical,  nor  the  eschatology.  The  attribution  of  the 
work  to  Enoch  is  doubtless  owed  to  the  fact  that  popular 
tradition  assigned  to  him  the  reception  of  revelations 
concerning  the  secrets  of  nature  and  other  mysteries,  the 
discovery  of  the  alphabet,  and  the  writing  of  the  earliest 
books  that  the  world  ever  saw. 

"We  have  now  to  speak  of  the  teaching  of  this  book 
and  the  lessons  to  be  drawn  from  it.  Granting  that  it  is 
of  pre-Christian  origin,  these  are  of  great  interest  and 
importance,  as  bearing  on  Jewish  opinion  in  days  im- 
mediately preceding  the  appearance  of  Christ.  But  there 
is  one  preliminary  question  to  settle,  and  that  is  whether 
any  or  what  use  of  this  work  was  made  by  subsequent 
Christian  writers.  A  reader  at  a  late  Church  Congress 


astonished  and  scandalised  many  of  his  hearers  by  boldly 
asserting  that  St.  John  in  the  Apocalypse  had  merely 
plagiarised  from  certain  extant  productions  of  a  similar 
nature.  This  profane  theory  was  not  altogether  novel, 
and  it  requires  mention  here  since  the  Book  of  Enoch  has 
been  appealed  to  as  strongly  confirming  the  idea  of 
Christian  writers'  indebtedness  to  previous  apocryphal 

The  author  of  The  Evolution  of  Christianity,  in  re- 
publishing  Lawrence's  translation  of  our  book,  endeavours 
in  his  introduction  to  prove  that  Enoch's  work  is  the 
source  of  many  Christian  opinions  and  mysteries, 
primitive  Christianity  having  "  freely  appropriated  his 
visions  as  the  materials  of  constructive  dogmas."  The 
writer  accepts  without  question  the  Archbishop's  views  of 
llit1,  origin,  date,  and  locality  of  the  work,  except  that  he 
is  inclined  to  think  that  the  compiler  of  the  Book  of 
Daniel  borrowed  from  Enoch  rather  than  vice  versa.  He 
proceeds  to  give  instances  of  the  influence  of  Enoch  on 
subsequent  writers  and  opinions.  A  few  of  these  we  will 
cite.  The  theory  of  the  immobility  of  the  earth,  for 
denying  which  mediaeval  physicists  were  condemned  to 
the  stake,  is  traced  to  a  statement  in  Enoch  (chap,  xviii.) 
concerning  the  stone  which  supports  the  corners  of  the 
earth,  and  the  four  winds  which  uphold  the  earth  and  the 
firmament.  But  the  idea  is  found  in  Job  xxxviii.  6  ;  Ps. 
xx iv.  2,  etc. ;  and  concerning  the  winds  carrying  the 
earth,  we  may  compare  Job  xxvi.  7  with  ix.  6  and  Ps. 
Ixxv.  3.  The  fate  of  the  fallen  angels  and  the  happiness 
of  the  elect  are  described  in  the  Book ;  therefore  the 
Christian  view  of  these  matters  is  derived  thence.  To 


this  source  is  traced  the  teaching  concerning  the  Messiah 
prevalent  in  the  age  immediately  preceding  and  suc- 
ceeding the  appearance  of  Christ.  Then  we  have  a  series 
of  passages  from  the  New  Testament  paralleled  by 
extracts  from  Enoch  wjrich  are  supposed  to  have  been  in 
the  Christian  writers'  minds  when  they  spoke  or  com- 
posed the  utterances  which  we  now  possess.  Most  of 
these  citations  are  of  very  insignificant  similarity ;  many 
are  such  as  might  be  found  in  any  works  treating  of 
analogous  subjects,  without  any  notion  of  plagiarism,  and 
many  more  are  simply  derived  from  the  canonical  books 
of  the  Old  Testament.  The  "meek  shall  inherit  the 
earth,"  says  our  Lord  in  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount 
(Matt.  v.  5) ;  "  the  elect  shall  inherit  the  earth,"  says 
Enoch  v.  7.  "  Woe  unto  you  which  are  rich ;  for  ye 
have  received  your  consolation  "  (Luke  vi.  44).  "  Woe 
to  you  who  are  rich,  for  in  your  riches  have  you  trusted ; 
but  from  your  riches  you  shall  be  removed  "  (Enoch  xciv. 
8).  "  The  things  which  the  Gentiles  sacrifice,  they 
sacrifice  to  devils  and  not  to  God"  (1  Cor.  x.  20).  "So 
that  they  sacrificed  to  devils  as  to  gods  "  (Enoch  xix.  1). 
The  same  idea  is  found  in  Bar.  iv.  7,  and  in  the  Sept. 
Version  of  Ps.  xcv.  5,  cv.  37;  Deut.  xxxii.  17.  The 
"  great  gulf  fixed  "  between  the  souls  in  Hades  (Luke 
xvi.  26)  is  paralleled  by  a  passage  (Enoch  xxii.  9),  mis- 
translated, "  Here  their  souls  are  separated  by  a  chasm  ;  " 
the  correct  rendering  being,  "  Thus  are  the  souls  of  the 
just  separated  ;  there  is  a  spring  of  water  above  it,  light  " 
(Schodde) ;  and  our  Lord  in  the  parable  gives  the 
prevalent  opinion  without  comment.  The  rapture  of  St. 
Paul  (2  Cor.  xii.)  and  St.  John  (Rev.  xvii.,  xix.)  is 

THE  BOOK  OF  ENOCH.  8  7" 

similar  to  what  befell  Enoch  (chap,  xxxix.)  in  some 
respects ;  but  one  is  not  dependent  on  the  other  in 
details  or  description.  Enoch  hears  the  angels  calling 
on  God,  as  Lord  of  lords  and  King  of  kings  (chap, 
ix.  3,  4) ;  did  St.  John  therefore  borrow  the  expression 
(Rev.  xvii.  14,  xix.  6)  from  him?  The  apostle  speaks 
of  the  tree  of  life  (Eev.  ii.  7,  xxii.  2,  14);  Enoch  also 
(xxiv.,  xxv.)  tells  of  such  a  tree,  which  is  plainly  derived 
from  Gen.  ii.  9,  iii.  22,  and  is  alluded  to  elsewhere,  as 
Prov.  iii.  18,  xi.  30,  etc. ;  4  Esdr.  viii.  62  ;  "Testament. 
Levi."  xviii.  The  tribulations  of  the  last  days  as 
delineated  in  Matt.  xxiv.  are  not  unlike  the  predictions 
in  Enoch  Ixxx. ;  but  no  one  reading  the  two  would 
gather  that  they  were  borrowed  one  from  the  other,  the 
variations  being  numerous,  and  actual  identity  not 
appearing  anywhere.  There  is  a  book  connected  with 
the  judgment  in  Enoch  (chap,  xlviii.),  as  in  Rev.  xx. ; 
but  so  there  is  in  Ex.  xxxii.  32  ;  Ps.  Ixix.  28  ;  Dan. 
xii.  1,  etc.  In  Rev.  v.  11  the  number  of  angels  is 
called  "  ten  thousand  times  ten  thousand,  and  thousands 
of  thousands  ; "  so  in  Enoch  (chap.  xl.  1)  we  read  of  "  a 
thousand  times  thousand,  and  ten  thousand  times  ten 
thousand  beings,  standing  before  the  Lord,"  which  is 
merely  like  Dan.  vii.  10  ;  Deut.  xxxiii.  2.  The  new 
heavens  and  the  new  earth,  adumbrated  in  2  Pet.  iii.  13 
and  Rev.  xxi.  1,  are  expected  by  Enoch  (chaps,  xlv., 
xci.  16).  The  latter  passage  is  perhaps  an  interpolation, 
and  the  former  is  based  on  Isa.  Ixv.  17,  Ixvi.  In 
1  Tim.  iv.  1,  2  we  read,  "  The  Spirit  speaketh  expressly, 
that  in  the  latter  times  some  shall  depart  from  the  faith, 
through  the  hypocrisy  of  men  that  speak  lies ; "  and  St. 


Paul  is  thought  to  have  plagiarised  from  Enoch  civ., 
"and  now,  I  know  this  mystery  that  the  words  of 
rectitude  will  be  changed,  and  many  sinners  will  rebel, 
and  will  speak  wicked  words,  and  will  lie  and  make 
great  works,  and  write  books  concerning  their  words  '' 
(Schodde).  Of  this  character  and  of  no  nearer  identity 
are  all  the  passages  adduced  by  the  critic  as  parallel  ; 
and,  relying  on  such  citations,  we  are  asked  to  believe 
that  our  Lord  and  His  apostles,  consciously  or  uncon- 
sciously, introduced  into  their  speech  and  writings  ideas 
and  expressions  most  decidedly  derived  from  Enoch. 
Few  unprejudiced  persons  will  agree  with  the  author  of 
this  opinion,  whose  aim  seems  to  be  to  throw  discredit 
upon  the  superhuman  origin  of  Christianity,  and  to  trace 
it  to  merely  human  development.  According  to  him, 
"  the  work  of  the  Semitic  Milton  was  the  inexhaustible 
source  from  which  evangelists  and  apostles,  or  the  men 
who  wrote  in  their  names,  borrowed  their  conceptions  of 
the  resurrection,  judgment,  immortality,  perdition,  and  of 
the  universal  reign  of  righteousness  under  the  eternal 
dominion  of  the  Son  of  man."  Yet  the  same  ideas  run 
through  all  the  pseudepigraphic  writings,  a  fact  of  which 
our  flippant  author  seems  to  be  wholly  unaware.  The 
writer,  as  he  deems,  puts  orthodox  believers  in  a 
dilemma :  either  Enoch  was  an  inspired  prophet  and 
the  New  Testament  writers  were  justified  in  using  his 
words  as  Divine  utterances,  or  he  was  a  visionary  and 
fraudulent  enthusiast,  whose  illusions  were  erroneously 
accepted  by  apostles  and  evangelists,  who  thus  lose  their 
claim  to  inspiration.  Happily,  there  is  a  third  alter- 
native :  the  New  Testament  writers  have  not  borrowed 


from     Enoch,    save     in     the     single    quotation     by    St. 

But  enough  of  this.  Let  us  see  what  is  the  Christ- 
ology  of  our  book,  and  its  Messianic  utterances.1  First, 
as  to  the  names  applied  to  the  Messiah.  He  is  called 
The  Anointed  One,  the  Christ  (chap,  xlviii.  10,  lii.  4); 
The  Righteous  (xxxviii.  2) ;  The  Elect  (xl.  5,  xlv.  3,  4) ; 
The  Son  of  man  (xlvi.  2);  Son  of  the  Woman  (Ixii.  5). 
This  last  title  occurs  only  once,  and  seems  intended  to 
accentuate  the  fact  that  He  is  very  man.  Of  the 
Christian  verity,  that  Jesus  was  incarnate  by  the  Holy 
Ghost  of  the  virgin,  there  is  no  trace.  But  to  this 
Christ  is  attributed  pre  -  existence  with  other  Divine 
attributes.  Thus  in  the  second  similitude  we  read 
(chap.  xlvi.  1-3),  "  There  I  saw  one  who  had  a  Head  of 
days  (age-marked),  and  His  head  was  white  as  wool  (Dan. 
vii.  9) ;  and  with  Him  was  another,  whose  countenance 
resembled  that  of  man  ;  and  full  of  grace  was  His  coun- 
tenance, like  one  of  the  holy  angels.  And  I  asked  one 
of  the  angels,  who  went  with  me  and  showed  me  all  the 
hidden  things,  about  that  Son  of  man,2  who  He  was,  and 

1  Drummond  looks  with,  suspicion  011  most  of  these  allusions  to 
Messiah  as  interpolations  by  a  Christian  or  semi-Christian  editor. 
There  is  really  nothing  to  show  the  reasonableness  of  this  notion  ; 
and  were  it  true,  it  would  be  difficult  to  account  for  the  vagueness 
of  the  statements,  the  reticence  concerning  the  facts  of  Christ's  life, 
and  the  apparent  inconsistency  in  some  of  the  expressions  used  and 
actions  attributed  to   Him.      A  writer  who  desired  to  propagate 
Christian  ideas  among  his  countrymen  would  not  have  contented 
himself  with  statements  concerning  Messiah's  advent  in  glory,  and 
have  omitted  all  notice  of  His  previous  humiliation. 

2  "  Son  of  man "  was  probably  currently  iised  as  a  title  of  the 
Messiah  at  the  time  of  the  composition  of  the  Allegories,  as  it  was 


whence  He  was,  and  why  he  went  with  the  Head  of 
days  ?  And  he  answered  me,  and  said  to  me  :  "  This  is 
the  Son  of  man,  who  has  righteousness,  with  whom 
righteousness  dwells,  and  who  reveals  all  the  treasures 
of  that  which  is  hidden,  because  the  Lord  of  spirits  hath 
chosen  Him,  and  His  lot  before  the  Lord  of  spirits  hath 
surpassed  every  other  through  righteousness  for  ever  and 
ever."  The  angel  goes  on  to  say  that  this  Son  of  man 
will  raise  up  kings  and  mighty  men  from  their  thrones, 
and  hurl  those  that  obey  not  to  destruction,  and  break 
the  teeth  of  sinners,  and  terribly  punish  those  who  extol 
not  the  name  of  the  Lord  of  spirits.  Before  sun  and 
moon  were  created,  or  the  stars  were  made,  His  name 
was  named  before  the  Lord  of  spirits  ;  and,  being  chosen 
to  do  great  things  hereafter,  He  was  hidden,  and  revealed 
only,  till  He  came  into  the  world,  by  imparting  treasures 
of  wisdom  to  the  elect.  For  in  Him  dwells  the  spirit  of 
wisdom,  and  the  spirit  of  Him  who  gives  insight,  and  the 
spirit  of  instruction  and  power,  and  the  spirit  of  those 
who  are  fallen  asleep  in  righteousness.1  He  has  not  yet 
appeared  on  earth,  but  in  due  time  He  will  come  to 
execute  vengeance  on  sinners,  and  to  receive  homage  at 
the  hands  of  the  mightiest  in  the  world.  To  Him  all 
judgment  is  committed ;  He  sits  on  the  throne  of  Divine 
glory,  and  judges  both  dead  and  living,  and  even  fallen 
angels  themselves.  He  will  be  the  joy  of  the  righteous  ; 
it  will  be  their  high  privilege  to  hold  close  communion 
with  Him.  In  all  that  is  said  of  the  glory  of  the 

in  our  Lord's  own  days.      See  John  xii.  34,  and  ix.  35  in  some 
MSS. ;  also  Matt.  xvi.  13. 
1  Chaps,  xlviii.,  xlix. 


Messiah,  He  is  plainly  not  conceived  of  as  God  ;  His 
power  is  delegated ;  He  is  a  creature  subordinated  to 
Almighty  God,  joining  in  the  universal  worship  offered 
to  the  Lord  of  all ;  clothed  indeed  with  highest  attri- 
butes, but  set  at  a  distance  from  the  supreme  Lord.  The 
writer  indeed  has  assimilated  the  teaching  of  Daniel  and 
the  Prophets,  but  he  is  far  from  realising  the  doctrine  of 
St.  John.1 

The  eschatology  of  the  book  is  somewhat  confused, 
owing  partly  to  the  vagueness  of  the  writer's  own 
opinions,  and  partly  to  the  variety  of  authorship. 
Speaking  generally,  we  may  say  that  the  author  antici- 
pated the  immediate  development  of  Messiah's  kingdom. 
The  one  object  of  the  production,  so  far  as  unity  can  be 
traced  therein,  is  to  assert  the  great  truth  that  retribu- 
tion awaits  transgression ;  this  is  confirmed  by  the 
history  of  the  past,  and  emphasises  the  announcement  of 
the  events  of  the  later  days  which  are  matters  of  predic- 
tion. In  one  passage  2  we  are  told  that  the  eighth  week 
of  the  world's  history  shall  be  one  of  righteousness,  when 
vengeance  is  executed  upon  sinners  at  the  hands  of  the 
godly.  At  the  end  of  this  period  occurs  a  time  of 
happiness  and  prosperity ;  the  righteous  shall  inherit  a 
new  Jerusalem  and  erect  a  new  temple.  In  the  ninth 
and  tenth  weeks  the  everlasting  judgment  will  take 
place,  the  present  heaven  and  earth  will  vanish  away, 
and  be  succeeded  by  a  new  heaven  and  a  new  earth, 
which  shall  exist  eternally  in  goodness  and  righteousness. 

1  Chaps.  11,  lv.,  Ixi.,  Ixix. 

2  Chap.  xci.  12-17.     The  passage  belongs  properly  to  chap,  xciii., 
and  is  inserted  there  by  Dill  maim. 


In  other  passages  l  referring  to  the  same  period  there  is 
no  mention  of  this  time  of  peace  preceding  the  judg- 
ment; rather  the  Messianic  reign  is  to  be  ushered  in 
with  war  and  calamity  and  desolation,  and  rest  is  not 
won  till  the  evil  angels  and  the  wicked  rulers  are  cast 
into  the  fiery  abyss,  and  the  Messiah,  "  the  white  steer," 
is  born.  There  is  no  definite  statement  in  this  passage 
concerning  the  general  resurrection  as  preceding  the 
universal  judgment.2  But  from  other  places  we  gather 
that  in  this  matter  a  different  mode  awaits  the  wicked 
and  the  righteous.  The  spirits  of  the  former  shall  be 
removed  from  Sheol,  and  sent  into  the  place  of  torment,8 
but  the  spirits  of  the  righteous  shall  be  united  to  their 
bodies,  and  live  on  the  new  earth,  sharing  the  ineffable- 
blessings  of  Messiah's  kingdom.4  The  resurrection  of  the 
body  is  a  boon  that  belongs  to  the  just  alone,  who  were 
thus  compensated  for  the  evil  times  which  they  had 
passed  while  formerly  in  the  flesh.  The  final  judge  is 
not  Messiah,  but  God  Himself,  who  shall  descend  from 
heaven  to  pass  the  sentence  upon  men  and  angels.5  This 
view  is  common  to  all  the  apocalyptic  literature  of  the 
period,  so  that  our  Lord's  statement,  "The  Father 
judgeth  no  man,  but  hath  given  all  judgment  unto  the 
Son,"6  was  a  novel  idea  to  His  hearers,  even  to  those  of 
them  who  had  learned  some  portion  of  the  truth  con- 
cerning Christ's  nature  and  attributes. 

1  E.g.  chap.  xc. 

2  A   similar  omission   occurs    in    the  description  given    in    St. 
Mark  xxv. 

3  Chaps,  ciii.  8,  cviii.  2-6. 

4  Chaps,  li.  1,  2,  Ixi.  5,  xcii.  3,  c.  5. 

5  Chaps,  i.  3,  4,  xxv.  3,  c.  5.  6  John  v.  22. 


Of  the  intermediate  state  the  description  is  somewhat 
obscure.  Enoch  (chap,  xxii.)  is  shown  a  place  in  the  far 
west  where  the  souls  of  the  righteous  dead  are  collected, 
different  abodes  being  assigned  to  them  according  to  a 
certain  classification ;  those  who  suffered  wrong  being 
separated  from  those  who  died  from  other  causes.  Near 
them  is  the  locality  where  the  spirits  of  sinners  wait. 
Here  also  a  division  is  made  between  those  who  had 
been  punished  on  earth  for  their  sins  and  those  who 
hitherto  had  escaped  retribution.  These  transgressors 
suffer  pain  in  this  abode,  even  as  Dives  in  the  parable 
speaks  of '  being  tormented  in  the  flame.1  Here  they 
have  to  wait  till  the  day  of  judgment,  when  their  fate  is 
decided  for  ever.  But  some  highly  favoured  souls  do  not 
dwell  in  this  western  abode.  They  are  taken  to  Paradise, 
which  is  the  Garden  of  Eden  in  the  north  country,  and 
whither  Enoch  himself  was  translated.  This  is  their 
temporary  home.2  One  sees  here  a  trace  of  the  dis- 
tinction between  the  destiny  of  the  souls  of  the  good 
and  those  of  the  highest  saints,  which  is  found  in  some 
mediaeval  and  in  some  Catholic  theology ;  and  in  accord- 
ance with  which,  while  some  rest  in  Hades  or  Paradise, 
others  are  raised  to  heaven  at  once  and  enjoy  the  beatific 

As  regards  angelology,  in  some  parts  of  the  work 
there  is  a  somewhat  strict  classification  of  these  heavenly 
beings.  They  are  innumerable,  but  among  them  are 
distinguished  seraphim,  cherubim,  and  ophanim,  angels 
of  power  and  angels  of  lordship.  The  ophanim  ("wheels  ") 

1  Chap.  ciii.  7,  8 ;  Luke  xvi.  23-25. 

2  Chap.  Ix.  8,  Ixi.  12,  Ixx. 


are  so  named  from  the  representation  in  Ezekiel  i.  and  x. 
There  is  one  called  the  Angel  of  Peace  (chap.  xl.  8)  who 
seems  to  be  the  highest  of  all,  and  to  have  the  direction 
of  things  in  heaven  and  earth.  The  four  archangels, 
Michael,  Eaphael,  Gabriel,  and  Phanuel,  have  separate 
functions  assigned  to  them  in  connection  with  Messiah's 
kingdom.  Michael  leads  the  ceaseless  praise  of  God ; 
Eaphael  presides  over  the  sick  and  suffering ;  Gabriel  is 
mighty  to  assist  the  oppressed ;  Phanuel  aids  the  re- 
pentant and  those  who  hope  for  life  eternal.1  As  regards 
evil  spirits,  these  are  sometimes  supposed  to  be  the  fallen 
angels,  whose  transgression  is  continually  coining  in  view  ; 
sometimes  the  spirits  of  the  giants  born  from  their  illicit 
connection  with  mortal  women.  Others  are  called  Satans, 
and  at  their  head  is  Satan  himself,  who  is  represented 
with  his  followers  not  only  as  leading  men  astray,  but 
as  the  agent  of  God  in  inflicting  punishment  on  sinners. 
In  this  view  he  is  allowed,  as  in  Job,  to  visit  heaven 
and  prefer  accusations  against  men.  Whence  these 
Satans  came,  and  whether  they  were  originally  good 
angels,  Enoch  reveals  not ;  but  he  denounces  their  fate 
in  Messianic  times,  when  they  shall  be  cast  into  a 
blazing  furnace  and  tormented  eternally.2 

The  Book  of  Enoch  shows  its  variety  of  authorship  by 
the  inequality  of  literary  skill  which  is  found  in  it.  If 
some  passages  are  of  high  eloquence,  and  redolent  of 
piety  and  reverence  and  noble  aspirations,  others  are 
characterised  by  wild  speculation  and  empty  bombast. 
But  with  all  its  faults  and  shortcomings,  it  is  of  great 

1  Chaps.  Ixi.  10,  Ixxi.  3,  7,  8,  13,  xl.  1  ff.,  ix. 

2  Chaps,  xv.  8,  xl.  7,  liii.  3,  liv.  6. 


value  as  introducing  us  to  the  views  and  feelings  of 
Jews,  their  hopes  and  convictions,  at  the  period  immedi- 
ately preceding  the  Christian  era,  and  helping  us  to 
estimate  the  moral,  religious,  and  political  atmosphere 
in  which  Christ  lived.  Hence  the  work  is  to  be  re- 
garded, not  as  a  mere  literary  curiosity,  but  as  offering 
a  substantial  aid  to  the  understanding  of  the  most 
important  period  of  the  world's  history. 


In  the  Epistle  of  St.  Jude  we  read  (ver.  9)  :  "  Michael 
the  archangel,  when  contending  with  the  devil  he  dis- 
puted about  the  body  of  Moses,1  durst  not  bring  against 
him  a  railing  judgment,  but  said,  The  Lord  rebuke  thee." 
Hereupon  two  questions  arise.  Whence  did  the  apostle 
derive  the  story  to  which  he  refers  ?  And  what  was 
the  occasion  of  the  dispute  ?  To  the  latter  question  a 
conjectural  answer  alone  can  be  given.  Taking  into 
consideration  the  circumstances  of  the  burial  of  Moses, 
we  see  that  it  was  intended  to  be  a  secret  transaction. 
The  Lord,  we  are  told  (Deut.  xxxiv.  6),  "  buried  him  in  a 
valley  of  the  land  of  Moab,  over  against  Beth-peor  ; 
but  no  man  knoweth  of  his  sepulchre  unto  this  day." 
Doubtless  there  was  a  good  reason  for  this  secrecy.  The 
proneness  of  the  Jews  to  idolatry,  the  likelihood  that  the 

1  An  attempt  has  been  made  to  read  'I>j<7oy  instead  of  blui/asa;,  and 
to  refer  the  occurrence  to  Zech.  iii.  2  ;  but  there  is  no  authority 
whatever  for  such  change  of  the  text. 


body  of  their  great  leader  might  become  an  object  of 
adoration,  even  as  the  brazen  serpent  drew  their  hearts 
away  in  later  time,  the  tendency  to  follow  the  creature- 
worship  and  to  pay  that  undue  reverence  to  relics  which 
they  had  seen  in  Egypt, — these  considerations  may  have 
led  to  the  concealment  of  the  body  of  Moses.  And  the 
devil-  wished  to  frustrate  this  purpose.  He  saw  an 
opportunity  of  using  the  mortal  remains  of  Moses  to 
draw  away  the  Israelites  from  true  religion.  He  would 
have  no  mystery  about  the  burial.  The  people  should 
be  shown  their  leader's  resting-place ;  of  the  result  he 
had  no  doubt  whatever.  And  Michael,  the  appointed 
guard  of  the  grave,  as  the  Targuni  says,  resisted  this 
evil  attempt  of  Satan,  and  firmly  carried  out  the  purpose 
of  God.  Using  the  words  which  God  Himself  had 
employed  when  the  wicked  spirit  endeavoured  to  with- 
stand His  act  of  clothing  Joshua,  the  high  priest,  in 
festal  garments  (Zech.  iii.),  Michael  answered,  "  The  Lord 
rebuke  thee."  And  in  the  unknown  spot  the  body 
rested ;  or,  at  any  rate,  it  was  seen  no  more  till  it 
appeared  to  the  wondering  three  on  the  Mount  of  Trans- 
figuration fourteen  hundred  years  later. 

The  former  question,  as  to  the  origin  of  the  narrative 
to  which  St.  Jude  refers,  is  answered  by  Origen,1  who 

1  De  Princ.  iii.  2.  1 :  "  In  Genesi  serpens  Evam  seduxisse  describi- 
tur,  de  quo  in  Adscensione  Mosis,  cujus  libelli  meminit  in  Epistola 
sua  Apostolus  Judas,  '  Michael  archangel  us  cum  Diabolo  disputans 
de  corpore  Mosis,'  ait  a  Diabolo  inspiratum  serpentem  causam 
exstitisse  prsevaricationis  Adse  et  Eva3."  Opp.  i.  138.  The  title  of 
the  work  is  given  as  Assumtio  Moysis,  sometimes  as  Ascensio  or 
Receptio  M.,  both  being  translations  of  the  Greek  dva'h-n-^/ig  M.,  and 
this  not  in  the  sense  of  ascension  of  body  and  soul,  as  in  the  case  of 
Christ,  but  with  the  meaning  that  while  his  body  was  buried  his 


intimates  that  it  is  derived  from  a  book  which  he  calls 
the  Ascension  of  Moses,  *  Ava^^is  Mcoo-eoj?.  That 
St.  Jude  should  refer  to  a  work  current  in  his  day, 
though  not  appertaining  to  the  canon  of  Holy  Scripture, 
is  quite  supposable,  as  there  is  good  ground  for  believing 
that  in  another  place  (ver.  14)  he  cites  the  apocryphal 
Book  of  Enoch.  The  existence  of  this  Assumption  or 
Ascension  of  Moses  is  testified  by  many  other  early 
writers.  In  the  remarkable  use  of  the  word  fiecrlT^  in 
the  Epistle  to  the  Galatians  (iii.  19)  some  have  seen  a 
reference  to,  or  evidence  of  acquaintance  with,  our  book. 
Certainly  the  term  is  applied  to  Moses  in  the  first 
chapter,  where  the  dying  lawgiver  says :  "  Itaque  excogi- 
tavit  et  invenit  me,  qui  ab  initio  orbis  terrarum  prse- 
paratus  sum  ut  sim  arbiter  testamenti  illius."  Eeferring 
to  this,  and  having  the  Greek  original  before  him,  Gelasius 
of  Cyzicum  1  gives  the  latter  words  of  Moses  as  elval  fie 
7779  SiaOrjfcrjs  avrov  fjuecriTtiv.  But  we  cannot  lay  much 
stress  on  the  use  of  that  expression,  as  it  is  employed  in 
this  connection  by  Philo  2  and  the  Eabbinical  authors, 
and  was  probably  applied  to  Moses  by  writers  antecedent 
to  Christianity  in  agreement  with  Deut.  v.  5,  where  he 
says :  "  I  stood  between  the  Lord  and  you  at  that  time, 
to  show  you  the  word  of  the  Lord."  It  is  also  asserted 

soul  was  conveyed  by  angels  to  heaven.  Moses  himself  in  one 
passage  (Assumt.  x.  14)  speaks  of  sleeping  with  his  fathers,  and  in 
another  dates  an  event  from  his  reception  ("a  receptione  mea," 
x.  12).  More  indefinitely  it  is  termed  "  Secreta  M."  (Didym.), 
and  fii  fata  &'xUpv$ot,  M.  (Const.  Apost.). 

1  Comment.  Act.  Syn.  Nic.  ii.  18.     (Mansi,  Condi  ii.  p.  844.)     The 
passage  in  Heb.  ix.  15  is  translated  in  Cod.  Claromont.:  "et  ideo 
novi  testamenti  arbiter  est,"  where  the  Vulgate  has  "  mediator." 

2  Vit.  Mos.  iii.  19  :  o7»  ptaivr^  x.a.1  3/aXAaxT^.     Vol.  ii.  p.  160  M. 



that  Clemens  Eomanus  quotes  our  book  when,  speaking 
of  Moses  (xvii.  5),  he  says  :  "  He,  though  greatly  honoured, 
magnified  not  himself,  but  answered  when  the  revelation 
was  made  to  him  at  the  bush,  '  Who  am  I,  that  Thou 
sendest  me  ?  I  am  slow  of  speech,  and  of  a  slow  tongue.' 
And  again  he  saith  :  '  I  am  as  smoke  from  the  pottery.'  "  1 
The  last  clause  is  deemed  by  Hilgenfeld  to  be  cited 
from  the  Assumption.  This  is  possible,  but  the  existing 
fragments  do  not  contain  it.  The  earliest  reference 
which  can  be  relied  on  is  found  in  the  works  of  Clemens 
Alexandrinus,2  who,  describing  the  death  of  Moses,  says  it 
is  probable  that  Joshua  saw  Moses  in  twofold  form  when 
he  was  taken  up  (avaka^avo^vov),  one  with  the  angels, 
and  one  honoured  with  burial  in  the  valley.  This  curious 
opinion  is  shared  by  Origen,3  who  asserts  that  in  a  certain 
uncanonical  book  mention  is  made  of  two  Moses'  being 
seen,  one  alive  in  the  spirit,  the  other  dead  in  the  body. 
Evodius,4  a  contemporary  of  St.  Augustine,  has  the  same 
gloss,  derived  from  the  same  source :  "  When  he  ascended 
the  mountain  to  die,  the  power  of  his  body  brought  it  to 
pass,  that  there  should  be  one  body  to  commit  to  earth, 

1  'Eyci  BS  eiftt  drph  <*TO  x,v6p*;.      Lightfoot's  references  to  Jas. 
iv.  14  and  Hos.  xiii.  3  are  not  satisfactory. 

2  Strom,  vi.  15  (p.  806,  Potter),  cf.  i.  23,  153. 

3  In  Libr.  Jesu  Nave,  Horn.  ii.  1 :  "  Denique  et  in  libello  quodam, 
licet  in  canone  non  habeatur,  mysterii  tarnen  hujus  figura  describitur. 
Refertur  enim  quia  duo  Moses  videbantur,  unus  vivus  in  spiritu, 
alius  mortuus  in  corpore." 

4  Augustin.  Ep.  158  (ii.  p.  426,  Ben.) :  "  Quamquam  et  in  apocry- 
phis  et  in  secretis  ipsius  Moysi,  quae  scriptura  caret  auctoritate,  tune 
cum  ascenderet  in  montern  ut  moreretur,  vi  corporis  efficitur  ut 
aliud  esset  quod  terrae  mandaretur,  aliud  quod  angelo  comitanti 


and  another  to  be  the  companion  of  his  attendant  angel." 
Another  legend,  traced  to  the  same  origin,1  recounts  how 
at  Moses'  death  a  bright  cloud  so  dazzled  the  eyes  of  the 
bystanders  that  they  saw  neither  when  he  died  nor  where 
he  was  buried.  Other  writers  give  a  different  reason  for 
the  dispute  with  Michael  from  that  suggested  above, 
still,  however,  referring  to  the  tradition  contained  in  the 
Assumption.  Thus  (Ecumenius2  writes,  that  the  arch- 
angel took  charge  of  Moses'  body,  but  the  devil  claimed  it 
as  his  own,  being  the  body  of  a  murderer  in  that  he  had 
killed  the  Egyptian  ;  and  an  old  Scholion  3  on  the  passage 
in  St.  Jude  adds :  "  that  it  was  when  Satan  asserted  this 
claim  and  blasphemed,  Michael  replied, '  The  Lord  rebuke 
thee.' "  Epiphanius4  gathers  from  this  book  how  the 
angels  buried  the  body  of  Moses  without  washing  it,  for 
they  had  no  need  to  wash  it ;  nor  were  they  defiled  by 
contact  with  so  holy  and  pure  a  body.  Didymus  of 
Alexandria,5  who  lived  in  the  fourth  century  A.D.,  informs 
us  that  some  persons  in  his  day  raised  an  objection 
against  the  Epistle  of  St.  Jude,  as  also  against  the 
Assumption  of  Moses,  on  account  of  the  passage  con- 
cerning the  dispute  with  Satan ;  just  as,  according  to 
Jerome,6  the  same  Epistle  was  rejected  for  its  reference 
to  the  apocryphal  Book  of  Enoch.  Mention  is  made  of 

1  Caten.  in  Pent.  ap.  Fabric.  Cod.  Pseud,  ep.  V.  T.  ii.  p.  121. 

2  In  Ep.  Jud.  p.  340. 

3  Caten.  in  Ep.  Cath.  ed.  Cramer,  Oxon.  1840. 

4  Hceres.  ix.  p.  28. 

5  In  Ep.  Jud.  enarrat.  (vi.  p.   326,  Galland.  B.  Patr.):    "Licet 
adversarii  hujus  contemplationis  prsescribunt  praesenti  epistolee  et 
Moyseos  Assuintioni  propter  eum  locum  ubi  significatur  verbum 
archangel!  de  corpore  Moysis  ad  angelum  (al.  diabolum)  factum." 

6  Catal.  Script.  Ecclesiast. 


the  Assumption  in  some  catalogues  of  the  books  of 
Scripture.  Thus  in  the  Catalogue  of  Nicephorus  it  is 
placed,  with  the  Book  of  Enoch,  the  Testaments  of  the 
Patriarchs,  and  some  others,  among  the  Apocrypha  of 
the  Old  Testament ;  and  reference  is  made  to  it  in  the 
so-called  Synopsis  of  Athanasius.  Apollinaris  l  says : 
"  It  is  to  be  noted  that  in  the  times  of  Moses  there  were 
also  other  books,  which  are  now  apocryphal,  as  evident 
from  the  Epistle  of  St.  Jude,  where  he  teaches  about  the 
body  of  Moses,  and  where  he  cites  as  from  ancient 
Scripture  the  passage,  '  Behold,  the  Lord  corneth,'  "  etc. 
In  the  Acts  of  the  Second  Nicene  Council 2  some  passages 
are  cited  from  the  Analepsis  which  are  not  now  extant. 
Thus  we  read  that  in  the  dispute  with  Satan,  Michael 
said :  "  Of  His  Holy  Spirit  we  all  were  formed ; "  and 
again :  "  From  the  face  of  God  went  forth  His  Spirit, 
and  the  world  was  made."  Another  fragment  of  the 
same  Acts 3  already  mentioned  gives  the  chief  contents 
of  the  work :  "  Moses  the  prophet,  when  he  was  about 
to  depart  from  life,  as  it  is  written  in  the  Book  of  the 
Assumption  of  Moses,  called  Joshua  unto  him,  and 
spake,  saying :  '  God  looked  upon  me  before  the  founda- 

1  Niceph.  Catena,  i.  1313,  Lips.  1772. 

2  Comm.  Act.  Cone.  Nic.  ii.  20:  l»  fiifihu' '  Av»"hvi\]/&u$  Maatus  M/^aojA 
o  otp^tx.'yyt'^os  ^td'hiyof^evo;  r<u  S/at/S&Aw  Tvlyg;'  UTTO  yoip  "TrvevftotTo;  dyiov 

CtVTOV     TTOtVTlg    iX,Tia&Yl/^SV.          XOtl     'Ktt.'hlV    "hkytC    d'TTO     TTpOOUTTOV     TOV     ©£0t> 

ifjjjAtfg  TO  Kvwpcx,  ctvTw,  Koil  6  x,6fffto$  lyiviTo.  To  this  the  philosopher 
answers  :  TLepi  Be  TVJ$  fafalffyf  ' Avothy\}/s&j$  ^lava&a^  vcepi  q$  ccpria; 
tlpvjy.oLTt)  ov^s  oix.vix.Qix,  ITOTS  tl  fty  HI>V)  odsv  a,lru  vficig  actQsaTtpotv  ftoi  ruv 
"hsx&ivra'j  TT a. p XGT '/JG oti  TV)V  avarotaiv.  Mansi,  Condi,  ii.  857.  These  and 
other  passages  from  ancient  writers  are  cited  by  Volkmar,  Hilgenfeld, 
and  Fritzsche  in  their  editions  of  the  book. 

3  C.  xviii.  p.  28. 


tion  of  the  world,  that  I  should  be  the  mediator  of  His 
covenant.'  "  The  Apostolical  Constitutions  mention  among 
those  writings  that  are  without  the  canon  "The  apocryphal 
Books  of  Moses,"  1  referring  doubtless  to  our  work.  It 
seems  also  certain  that  it  was  well  known  to  the  Kab- 
binical  writers,  who  raised  a  crop  of  legends  on  its 

Thus  we  see  that  the  Assumption  of  Moses  was  a  book 
known  and  quoted  up  to  the  twelfth  or  thirteenth  century 
of  our  era.  But  from  that  time  till  some  twenty  years 
ago  it  has  been  wholly  lost.  Commentators  on  St.  Jude 
were  forced  to  content  themselves  with  a  vague  reference 
to  this  unknown  composition  ;  and  the  words  of  Dean 
Stanley  in  Dr.  Smith's  Dictionary  of  the  Bible  (art. 
"Moses"),  written  in  1863,  accurately  represent  the 
amount  of  acquaintance  with  the  subject  possessed  by 
most  people.  Speaking  of  the  passage  in  Jude,  he  con- 
cludes thus  :  "  It  probably  refers  to  a  lost  apocryphal 
book  mentioned  by  Origen,  the  Ascension  or  Assumption 
of  Moses.  All  that  is  known  of  this  book  is  given 
by  Fabricius,  Codex  Pseudep.  V.  T.  i.  838-844."  The 
fragments,  however,  printed  by  Fabricius  are  very  in- 
significant, and  quite  insufficient  to  give  any  idea  of  the 
character  and  contents  of  the  work.  But  Dr.  Stanley 
was  unconsciously  inaccurate  when  he  made  the  state- 
ment just  mentioned.  Already  in  1861  A.  M.  Ceriani, 
the  learned  librarian  of  the  Ambrosian  Library  at  Milan, 
had  published  a  Latin  version  of  a  large  portion  of  the 
Assumption  which  he  had  found  in  a  palimpsest  of  the 

2  Volkmar,  Mose  Prophetic  u.  Himmelfahrt,  p.  10. 


sixth  century.1  It  is  curious  that  nearly  forty  years 
previously  Amedeus  Peyron  had  edited  from  the  same 
manuscript  some  hitherto  unknown  orations  of  Cicero,2 
but  the  "  Assumption  "  remained  still  undiscovered.  It 
was  therefore  with  the  utmost  satisfaction  that  the 
learned  world  received  the  news  that  fresh  fragments  of 
this  apocryphal  work  had  been  suddenly  disinterred. 
The  MS.,  indeed,  was  without  title,  corrupt  and  imper- 
fect, and  in  places  illegible ;  but  these  circumstances  only 
augmented  the  interest  which  was  centred  upon  it. 
Here  was  a  nodus  which  demanded  solution  at  the  hands 
of  scholars.  "  Liber  enim,"  as  Erasmus  says,3  "  prodigiosis 
mendis  undique  scatens,  crux  est  verius  quam  liber." 
That  it  was  the  same  book  as  the  old  Analepsis  Mos.  was 
proved  by  its  containing  the  passage  in  the  Acts  of  the 
Nicene  Council  quoted  above.  The  discovery  appears  to 
have  passed  almost  unnoticed  in  England,  but  in  Germany 
it  stirred  the  minds  of  savants  with  an  excitement  as 
great  as  that  lately  aroused  by  the  "  Teaching  of  the 
Twelve  Apostles."  Professors  set  themselves  the  task  of 
correcting,  explaining,  and  supplying  the  gaps  in  the 
very  imperfect  publication  of  Ceriani.  Eirst  Hilgenfeld, 
with  the  aid  of  other  scholars,  put  forth  a  critical  edition4 
containing  a  corrected  text,  which  threw  much  light  on 
the  many  dark  places,  and  afforded  a  readable  whole.  A 
year  or  two  later  he  took  the  pains  to  translate  the  Latin 

1  Monumenta  /Sacra,  torn.  I.  Fasc.  i.,  Mediol.  1861. 

2  Ciceronis  Orationes,  Stutg.  et  Tubing.  1824. 

3  Ep.  1203,  vol.  iii.  p.  1420. 

4  In  his  Novum    Testamentum  extra  Canon.,  Lips.  1866.     After- 
wards in  Messias  Judceorunij  Lips.  1869  ;   and  in  his  Zeitschr.  for 
1868,  etc. 


into  Greek,  no  very  difficult  task,  as  the  version  had  been 
most  slavishly  rendered  from  the  original,  retaining 
.everywhere  Greek  phraseology  and  often  Greek  words. 
This  he  published  with  valuable  notes.  Then  Volkmar 1 
printed  a  neat  little  edition  with  a  German  translation 
and  commentary.  This  was  followed  by  that  of  Schmidt 
and  Merx,2  whose  conjectures  and  corrections  are  remark- 
able rather  for  audacity  than  probability.  Fritzsche,3  the 
last  editor,  speaks  somewhat  slightingly  of  his  predecessors' 
labours,  but  has  largely  availed  himself  of  them.  In  his 
very  useful  edition  he  prints  on  one  page  the  text  as 
originally  published  by  Ceriani,  and  on  the  opposite  side 
gives  an  amended  text  with  the  lacunas  mostly  supplied, 
and  with  copious  critical  notes.  The  work  has  never,  I 
believe,  been  published  in  England.  A  useful  dissertation 
on  the  book,  which  combines  the  latest  information,  is 
appended  to  Dr.  Gloag's  Introduction  to  the  Catholic  Epistles. 
There  is  another  work  which  is  sometimes  confounded 
with  the  Assumption,  but  is  entirely  different  in  scope 
and  treatment.  •  This  is  an  Apocalypse  of  Moses  in 
Greek,  written  by  a  Christian,  and  belonging  to  the  class 
of  Adamaic  books,  wherein  is  given  a  history  of  Adam's 
life  and  death  as  revealed  to  Moses.  It  has  been  pub- 
lished by  Tischendorf  and  Ceriani. 

1  Handbuch  d.  Einl.  in  d.  Apokr.  vol.  iii.,  and  separately  under  the 
title  of  Mose  Prophetie  und  Himmelfahrt,  Leipz.  1867. 

2  Archiv.fiir  wissensch.  Erforsch.  des  A.  T.,  Halle  1868. 

3  Libri  Apocryph.  Vet.  Test,  Lips.  1871.     He  says  in  his  preface  : 
"Arduum  sane  et  magni  erat  negotii  hunc  libellum  mirum  quantum 
corruptum  emendare ;    i'eci  tamen  quod  potui.     Omnia  virorum 
doctorum  consilia,  vel  etiam  commenta  et  opinionum  monstra  referre 
nihil  attinuit."     P.  xxxiv. 


Whether  the  Assumption  was  originally  written  in 
Hebrew  cannot  now  be  determined.1  If  its  birthplace 
was  Palestine,  it  is  most  probable  that  it  was  composed 
in  Hebrew  or  Aramaic.  It  is  evident  that  it  was  known 
only  in  a  Greek  form  to  those  early  writers  who  mention 
it ;  and  it  is  also  certain  from  internal  evidence  that  the 
old  Latin  version  which  has  survived  was  made  from  the 
Greek  and  not  the  Hebrew.  The  use  of  such  words  as 
"  prophetise,"  "  scene  testimonii,"  "  allophyli,"  proves  this 
incontestably.  The  Latin  of  the  translation  is  beyond 
measure  barbarous  and  anomalous,  the  vulgar  dialect  of 
country  peasants,  and  resembling  the  old  Itala  rather 
than  any  classical  form  which  we  possess.  It  appears, 
too,  to  have  been  transcribed  by  an  ignorant  writer,  who 
has  accordingly  introduced  many  blunders  of  his  own 
manufacture.  As  the  MS.  came  originally  from  the 
Abbey  of  Bobbio,  near  Pavia,  whence  also  issued  the 
famous  Muratorian  Canon  (the  language  of  which  is  very 
similar  to  that  of  the  Assumption),  it  was  probably  copied 
by  one  of  the  inmates  of  that  establishment,  "  stronger," 
as  Colani  says,  "in  caligraphy  than  Latin."  Of  the 
place  and  date  of  the  original  composition  we  can  form 
only  conjectures.  We  might  do  more  if  we  had  the 
whole  before  us ;  but,  unfortunately,  both  the  beginning 
and  the  end  are  missing.  At  the  commencement 
probably  only  a  few  lines  are  lost,  but  at  the  conclusion 
a  very  serious  deficiency  is  to  be  lamented.  Mcephorus 

1  Merx,  Schmidt,  and  Colani  assert  strongly  that  the  work  was 
written  originally  in  Aramaic,  which  they  think  will  account  for 
most  of  the  obscurities  of  the  Latin  text.  See  Revue  de  Thtfologie,  3e. 
ser.  vol.  vi.  p.  68. 


states  that  the  original  work  consisted  of  1400  stiches, 
assigning  similar  dimensions  to  the  Book  of  Revelation. 
We  are  thus  led  to  the  conclusion  that  little  more  than 
half  has  been  preserved,  and  important  passages,  wherein 
some  guide  to  the  chronology  would  naturally  have  been 
introduced,  are  lost  or  mutilated  beyond  hope  of  replace- 
ment. Our  data,  therefore,  are  much  limited,  and  we 
possess  but  scanty  foundations  on  which  to  construct  a 
theory.  With  regard  to  the  locality  of  the  treatise,  we 
may  at  once  exclude  Alexandria  from  being  its  birth- 
place. The  author  shows  no  trace  of  the  Alexandrian 
school ;  he  never  allegorizes,  never  indulges  in  mystic 
speculations,  but  keeps  to  pure  history,  whether  he  is 
relating  the  past  or  predicting  the  future.  His  stand- 
point is  unadulterated  Judaism,  and  there  is  good  reason, 
as  will  be  seen,  for  classing  him  among  the  Zealots. 
Hilgenfeld  considers  that  the  author  was  a  Jew 
sojourning  at  Eome  ;  but  his  arguments  are  very  far  from 
decisive,  and  we  shall  have  most  critics  with  us  in 
determining  that  the  work  was  written  in  Palestine.  The 
author  shows  such  accurate  acquaintance  with  the  parties 
of  the  Jews  in  Palestine,  and  the  events  which  happened 
there,  that  it  can  scarcely  be  doubted  that  he  is  writing 
amid  the  scenes  and  characters  which,  under  the  disguise 
of  prophecy,  he  depicts,  either  in  Galilee  or  in  the 
country  east  of  Jordan,  where  the  party  of  Zealots 
was  strongest.  As  to  the  date  of  the  composition, 
scholars  have  long  had  important  differences,  Wieseler 
fixing  it  at  2  B.C.,  and  Volkmar  at  1 3  5-1 3 8  A.D.  Between 
these  two  extreme  dates  many  variations  occur ;  thus 
Ewald  assigns  it  to  A.D.  6,  Hilgenfeld  to  A.D.  44,  Merx  to 


A.D.  54-64.  Fritzsche  traces  it  to  the  sixth  decade  of 
the  first  century  A.D.,  and  Langen  (mistaking  the  applica- 
tion of  chap,  viii.)  assigns  it  to  a  period  shortly  after  the 
destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  Titus.  Most  of  these  critics 
found  their  opinions  upon  the  unintelligible  fragments  of 
numbers  in  chap.  vii.  But  it  is  absurd  to  employ  the 
hopelessly  mutilated  text  for  this  purpose  ;  and,  in  truth, 
we  can  only  be  certain  of  these  facts,  that  the  book  was 
written  before  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  of  which  no 
mention  is  made,  and  before  the  death  of  Herod's  two 
sous,  Philip  and  Antipas,  probably  towards  the  commence- 
ment of  their  reign ;  for  the  author  predicts  for  the  sons 
a  shorter  reign  than  their  father's,  which  could  be  said 
truly  of  Archelaus  alone,  for  Antipas  reigned  43  years, 
Philip  37,  and  Herod  the  Great  only  34  years.1  The 
concluding  clauses  of  chap,  vi.,  which  speak  of  the 
arrival  of  a  powerful  western  chieftain  who  should  take 
captives,  and  burn  the  house,  and  crucify  some,  point  to 
the  war  of  Varus,  B.C.  4  ; 2  and  when  the  writer  goes  on 
(chap,  vii.) :  "  ex  quo  facto  finientur  tempora,"  it  is 
natural  to  conclude  that  he  wrote  after  this  little  war. 
If  we  knew  accurately  the  date  of  St.  Jude's  Epistle,  we 
might  have  another  criterion ;  but  too  much  stress  must 
not  be  laid  upon  the  supposed  quotation  from  the 
Assumption,  as  the  passage  referred  to  is  not  extant,  and 
both  Jude  and  pseudo  -  Moses  may  have  used  some 

1  Archelaus  reigned  only  nine  years,  and  was  then  banished  by 
Augustus.     The  passage  of  the  MS.  above  referred  to  is  the  follow- 
ing :  "  et  .  .  .  roducit  natos  .  .  .  ecedentes  sibi  breviora  tempora 
donarent."    As  treated  by  Fritzsche  the  passage  reads  :  "  et  producet 
natos,  qui  succedentes  sibi  breviora  tempora  dominarent." 

2  Josephus,  Antiq.  xvii.  10. 


tradition  current  among  the  Jews  of  the  period.1  On 
the  whole,  we  shall  not  be  far  wrong  if  we  attribute  the 
composition  to  the  early  part  of  the  first  Christian 
century,  i.e.  between  A.D.  6,  the  time  of  the  banishment 
of  Archelaus,  and  A.D.  33,  the  date  of  Philip's  death.2 
Before  offering  a  sketch  of  the  contents  of  the  little 
work,  I  will  transcribe  a  few  lines  of  the  manuscript 
with  a  view  of  showing  its  corruptions,  and  the  difficulties 
that  stand  in  the  way  of  interpreters.  I  should  premise 
that  the  MS.  is  a  palimpsest  of  the  fifth  or  sixth  century, 
written  in  two  columns  to  the  page,  each  line  containing 
from  twelve  to  eighteen  letters  without  division  of  words, 
and  with  very  rare  punctuation.  The  following  is  the 
commencement  of  the  existing  fragment :  "  .  .  .  qui  est 
bis  millesimus  et  quingentesimus  annus  a  creatura  orbis 
terrae  nam  secus  qui  in  oriente  sunt  numerus  .  .  .  mus  et 
.  .  .  mus  profectionis  fynicis  cum  exivit  plebs  post  profec- 
tionem  quse  fiebat  per  moysen  usque  amman  trans  iordanem 
profetice  quse  facta  est  a  moysen  in  libro  deuteronomio." 
This  passage  is  thus  manipulated  by  the  latest  editors : 
"  [Anno  Moyseos  centesimo  et  vigesimo]  qui  est  bis  mille- 
simus et  quingentesimus  annus  a  creatura  orbis  terrse,  nam 
secus  [=  secundum  eos]  qui  in  oriente  sunt  numerus  est 
cccc  mus  et  vii  mus  et  xxx  mus  profectionis  Phcenices,3 

1  Some  German  writers  have  assigned  a  very  late  date  to  our  book, 
and  then  have  used  this  assumption  as  an  argument  for  attributing 
the  Epistle  of  St.  Jude  to  post-apostolic  times.     See  Volkmar,  Mose 
Prophetic  und  Himmelfahrt. 

2  See  Wieseler's  article  in  Jahrh.  fur  deutsche  Tlieol.  xiii.  622  ff., 
1868.     Of  the  contents  of  this  article  I  have  gladly  made  some  use 
in  my  paper.     See  also  Schiirer,  p.  79. 

3  A  great  controversy  has  been  raised  over  the  words  "  profectionis 
fynicis."     The  latter  word  is  explained  by  the  best  commentators  to 


cum  exivit  plebs  post  profectionem  quse  fiebat  per 
Moysen  usque  Amman  trans  Jordanem,  profetise  factae 
sunt  a  Moyse  in  libro  Deuteronomio."  It  would  lead  us 
too  far  were  we  to  attempt  to  solve  the  many  questions 
which  are  raised  by  this  brief  extract  ;  rather  let  us 
confine  ourselves  to  an  endeavour  to  obtain  a  general 
view  of  the  contents  and  object  of  the  work. 

The  work,  as  we  have  it  now,  is  divided  into  two 
parts  —  first,  the  charge  of  Moses  to  Joshua  his  successor, 
in  which  is  given  a  sketch  of  Jewish  history,  mingled 
with  prophecies  of  future  events  up  to  the  restoration  of 
the  pure  theocracy.  This  is  followed  by  a  humble,  self- 
depreciating  speech  of  Joshua,  to  which  Moses  makes  an 
encouraging  reply,  broken  off  short  by  the  mutilation  of 
the  manuscript,  which  ends  thus  :  "  exivit  enim  deus 
qui  praevidit  omnia  in  srecula,  et  stabilitum  est  testa- 
mentum  illius  et  jurejurando,  quod  "  .  .  .  The  remainder, 
which  gave  its  name  to  the  work,  doubtless  contained 
the  account  of  the  death  and  burial  of  Moses,  and  the 
dispute  about  the  body  to  which  St.  Jude  refers  ;  but 
this  will  probably  now  be  never  brought  to  light. 

be  the  Greek  (poti/Uns  \  but  they  differ  in  its  interpretation,  some 
contending  that  "  the  journey  of  Phoenicia  "  means  the  migration  of 
Canaan,  i.e.  the  Israelites  into  Egypt  ;  others,  with  more  reason, 
affirming  that  it  signifies  "the  journey  into  Phoenicia,"  i.e.  the 
removal  of  Abraham  to  Canaan.  Certainly  Canaan  is  so  called  by 
Eusebius  (Prcep.  Ev.  ix.  17.  2)  :  TOVTOV  d;«  roe.  TrpoaTotypoiTcx,  rov  Qeoij 
el$  QwiKw  ihdot/Tct.  Others,  again,  think  that  the  fabulous  bird 
Phoenix  is  meant,  which  is  said  to  have  reappeared  A.D.  34,  and 
to  whose  reappearance  Moses'  death  and  revival  are  compared. 
Wieseler  makes  this  into  an  argument  for  attributing  to  our  book  a 
locality  on  the  east  of  Jordan,  as  the  Arabians  used  the  Phoenix- 
period  in  their  computation  of  dates. 


It  will,  perhaps,  be  most  satisfactory  to  give  a  free 
translation  of  part  of  Moses'  speech,  adding  such  remarks 
as  seem  to  be  necessary  for  its  elucidation,  or  to  show  its 
bearing  on  the  Messianic  doctrine.1  We  must  keep  in 
mind  the  fact  (for  a  fact  it  seems  to  be)  that  the  book  is 
written  by  a  partisan  of  a  section  of  the  Zealots,  whose 
standpoint  was  that  no  mortal  man  ought  to  rule  Israel, 
be  he  priest  or  king,  of  the  line  of  Aaron  or  of  David, — 
that  Jehovah  alone  is  King.  This  tenet,  coupled  with 
an  energetic  and  fanatical  zeal  for  the  law,  led  to  the 
outburst  of  Judas  of  Galilee,  and  to  the  excesses  of  the 
sect  in  later  times.  We  shall  see  this  ruling  dogma 
continually  appearing  in  the  Assumption.  The  author 
at  the  same  time  seems  to  be  inimical  to  the  Pharisees, 
as  being  too  dogmatical  in  their  religion  and  undecided 
in  their  politics. 

This,  then,  is  the  last  charge  of  the  great  lawgiver : 
"  The  Lord  prepared  me  before  the  foundation  of  the 
world  to  be  the  mediator  of  His  covenant.  And  now 
that  I  am  about  to  be  gathered  to  my  fathers,  I  commit 
to  thee  this  writing,  which  thou  shalt  preserve  safely  2 
unto  the  day  of  visitation."  This  prophecy  of  Moses 
was  to  be  kept  in  the  holy  place  till  the  last  time  of 
judgment.  "  And  now  thou  shalt  lead  the  people  into 
the  land  promised  to  their  fathers,  and  shalt  settle  them 
there.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  that  after  they  have 
been  in  possession  for  five  3  years,  they  shall  be  governed 

1  I  use  generally  Fritzsche's  amended  text  as  the  most  probable 
and  most  available  form. 

2  "  Quos  ordinabis  et  chedriabis  " — i.e.  x.tbf>omst  "  shalt  smear  with 
oil  of  cedar."     So  xslpovv  is  used  by  Diod.  Sic.  v.  29. 

3  The  MS.  has  a  blank  where  the  number  ought  to  be ;  "  V."  is 


by  princes  and  tyrants l  eighteen  years ;  and  ten  tribes 
shall  revolt  for  nineteen  years."  The  eighteen  years 
represent  eighteen  rulers,  as  in  the  Book  of  Enoch,  viz. 
fifteen  judges  ("  principes  ")  from  Joshua  to  Samuel,  and 
three  kings  ("  tyranni  "),  Saul,  David,  and  Solomon ;  the 
"  nineteen "  are  the  kings  of  Israel  from  Jeroboam  to 
Hoshea.  "  But  two  tribes  shall  come  and  remove  the 
tabernacle  of  testimony ;  and  God  shall  make  a  resting- 
place  for  His  sanctuary  among  them  (2  Sam.  vi. ;  1  Kings 
viii.  4).  And  they  shall  offer  victims  for  twenty  years." 
This  refers  to  the  reign  of  the  twenty  kings  of  Judah, 
including  Athaliah.  "  And  seven  shall  fortify  the  walls, 
and  nine  will  I  watch  over,  and  they  shall  maintain  the 
covenant  of  the  Lord."  Seven  kings  improved  the  condi- 
tion of  the  people,  viz.  Rehoboam,  Abia,  Asa,  Jehoshaphat, 
Joram,  Ahaziah,  and  Athaliah ;  and  nine  God  defended, 
viz.  Joash,  Amaziah,  Uzziah,  Jotham,  Ahaz,  Hezekiah, 
Manasseh,  Amon,  Josiah.  "  But  the  last  four  kings  shall 
worship  false  gods,  and  defile  the  temple  with  their 
idolatries.  And  then  from  the  East  shall  come  a  mighty 
king  (Nebuchadnezzar)  who  shall  destroy  the  city,  and 
burn  the  sanctuary,  and  take  their  precious  things,  and 
carry  all  the  people  and  the  two  tribes  into  captivity. 
Then  the  two  tribes  shall  call  the  ten  to  repentance, 
acknowledging  the  justice  of  their  punishment ;  and  all 
together  shall  invoke  the  God  of  their  fathers,  and 
humbly  confess  that  that  chastisement  which  Moses 

supplied  from  Josh.  xiv.  10,  and  Joseph.  Antiq.  v.  1.  19.  "Wieseler 
thinks  that  the  date  2500  A.M.  was  here  repeated. 

1  "  Principibus  et  tyrannis."  In  calling  them  "  tyranni "  rather 
than  "  reges,"  the  seer  means  to  convey  his  disapproval  of  this 
invasion  of  the  pure  theocracy. 


predicted  has  righteously  fallen  upon  them.  At  the  end 
of  seven  and  seventy  years  one  of  their  princes  shall 
pray  for  them."  This  refers  to  the  intercession  of 
Daniel ;  the  seventy  years  of  exile  are  extended  by  seven 
according  to  the  Jewish  predilection  for  that  number, 
traces  of  which  we  see  in  Matt,  xviii.  22,  and  in  the 
genealogy  of  our  Lord  in  St.  Luke.  "And  God  shall 
look  upon  them,  and  put  it  into  the  heart  of  the  prince 
(Cyrus)  to  restore  them  unto  their  own  country.  Some 
portions  of  the  tribes  shall  return  to  their  appointed 
place  and  rebuild  the  city  walls ;  but  the  two  tribes 
alone  shall  remain  true  to  the  Lord,  yet  lamenting  that 
they  are  now  unable  to  offer  acceptable  sacrifices."  The 
notion  of  the  writer  is,  that  the  temple  having  been 
restored  under  heathen  auspices,  and  the  officiating 
priests  being  friendly  to  the  pagan  supremacy,  the 
services  therein  were  illegitimate  and  inefficacious.1  As 
for  the  ten,  they  shall  thrive  in  the  foreign  land,  and 
shall  some  day  rejoin  the  others  in  the  day  of  restora- 
tion.2 And  now  the  times  of  trial  shall  draw  near,3 
and  vengeance  shall  arise  because  of  the  wickedness  of 
princes  given  for  their  punishment ;  for  ministers  who 
are  not  priests,  but  slaves  and  born  of  slaves,  shall  defile 

1  A  similar  notion  is  found  in  the  Book  of  Enoch,  chap.  Ixxxix.  73, 
where  it  is  said,  in  reference  to  the  same  period,  that  "  all  the  bread 
offered  on  the  table  was  impure  and  denied." 

2  This  is  one  of  the  many  difficult  passages  in  the  work.     The 
MS.  gives  "  et  x  tribus  crescent  et  devenient  apud  natos  in  tempore 
tribum."     "  Tribum  "  plainly  ought  to  be  "  tribuum  ;  "  "  apud  natos  " 
is  =  "  ad  natos,  posteros  ; "  and  "  the  time  of  the  tribes  "  must  mean 
the  era  of  the  restoration  of  Israel.     Very  different  explanations  are 
offered  by  commentators  ;  the  above  is  substantially  that  of  Fritzsche. 

3  "  Adpropiabunt  tempora  arguendi." 


the  altar ; 1  and  those  who  are  their  doctors  of  the  law 
shall  pervert  justice  and  fill  the  land  with  iniquity."2 
The  writer  makes  no  definite  reference  to  the  persecution 
of  Antiochus  or  the  gallant  struggles  of  the  Maccabees, 
but  hurries  at  once  to  the  later  time  of  the  decadence 
of  that  great  family  and  the  consequent  corruption  of 
religion  and  morals.  The  scribes  and  Eabbis  of  the 
Asmonaeans  were  doubtless  Sadducees,  to  which  party 
John  Hyrcanus  had  attached  himself  (Joseph.  Antig. 
xiii.  10.  6). 

In  the  view  of  the  seer,  which,  as  I  have  said,  is  that 
of  the  sect  of  Zealots,  the  holy  people  were  to  be  governed 
by  no  earthly  king,  not  even  by  a  prince  of  Jewish  birth. 
Jehovah  alone  is  their  Euler.  From  this  standpoint  he 
regards  the  rule  of  the  Asmonaean  princes  as  usurping 
the  authority  of  the  Lord.  He  proceeds :  "  Soon  shall 

1  The  seer  seems  here  to  acknowledge  the  legitimacy  of  the  worship 
of  the  second  temple,  which  he  before  denied.     This  is,  doubtless, 
because  he  considers  the  Jews  as  independent  under  the  Maccabees. 
But  this  worship  was  marred  by  its  ministers.     "Non  sacerdotes, 
sed  servi  de  servis  nati."     Thus  John  Hyrcanus  was  taunted  by  the 
Pharisee  Eleazar  with  being  the  son  of  a  captive  woman,  and  there- 
fore disqualified  for  the  priesthood  (Joseph.  Antiq.  xiii.  10.  5). 

2  MS. :  "  Et  ideo  implebitur  coloriia  et  fines  habitationis  eorum 
sceleribus."     By  "  colonia,"  which  is  frequently  used  in  the  book,  is 
probably  meant  Jerusalem,  as  though  regarded  as  a  settlement  among 
the  heathen  Jebusites, — pseudo-Moses  taking  Joshua's  point  of  view. 
See  Josh.  xv.  63;  Judg.  i.  8,  21.     The  MS.  proceeds:  "a  domino 
qui  faciunt  erunt  impii  judices  inerunt  in  campo  judicare  quoinodo 
quisquae  uolet."     The  scribe  himself  has  attempted  to  correct  this 
unintelligible  passage,  but  without  success.     Fritzsche  reads  :    "  a 
Domino  qui  deficiunt  erunt  impii  judices,  et  erunt  in  campo  judicare 
quomodo  quisque  volet."     Wieseler  :  "  a  deo  qui  faciunt  (those  who 
are  on  God's  side,  the  Pharisees),  erunt  impii  judices  in  ea  (colonia), 
a  domino  qui  faciunt  (the  king's  party,  the  Sadducees),  erunt  impii 
judices,  hi  erunt  in  campo,  judicare,  quomodo  quisque  volet." 


ruling  kings  arise,1  calling  themselves  priests  of  the 
Most  High  God,  and  shall  profane  even  the  Holy  of 
Holies.  To  them  shall  succeed  an  insolent  king,  not  of 
the  family  of  priests,  a  man  rash  and  shameless, — and 
he  shall  judge  them  as  they  are  worthy.  He  shall  slay 
their  chieftains  with  the  sword,  and  strangle  them  in 
secret  places,2  so  that  their  bodies  shall  not  be  found ; 
he  shall  kill  old  and  young,  and  spare  not ;  there  will  be 
great  dread  of  him  throughout  the  land,  and  his  tyranny 
shall  continue  for  four  and  thirty  years."  This  is  a  fine 
and  true  description  of  Herod  the  Great,  and  the 
notorious  cruelties  practised  in  his  reign.  The  mistake 
concerning  the  length  of  the  reigns  of  Herod's  sons  has 
been  already  noticed.  "  He  shall  beget  sons,  who  shall 
reign  a  shorter  time  than  their  father;  until  a  mighty 
king  of  the  West  shall  come,  and  shall  utterly  defeat  the 
people,  lead  some  away  into  captivity,  crucify  others 
around  the  city,  and  burn  part  of  the  temple."  The 
mention  of  the  partial  destruction  of  the  temple  by  fire 
forbids  us  to  see  here  an  allusion  to  the  final  conquest  of 
Titus,  and  compels  us  to  look  to  another  event  for  an 
explanation  of  the  prophecy.  That  event  is  doubtless 
the  defeat  of  the  Jews  by  Varus,  when,  as  Joseph  us 
narrates,3  the  porticoes  or  cloisters  of  the  temple  were 

1  "Tune  exurgent  illis  reges  imperantes."     This  was  a  grievous 
reproach  in  the  eyes  of  a  Zealot. 

2  The  MS.  has  the  unintelligible  words  :  "  Et  locis  ignotis  singuli 
et  corpora  illorum  ut  nemo  sciat  ubi  sint  corpora  illorum."    For 
"  singuli    et,"     Fritzsche    proposes     "  strangulabit ; "     Hilgenfeld 
"  sepeliet."    Of.  Joseph.  Antiq.  xv.  10  :  "  And  many,  carried  off  either 
openly  or  secretly  into  the  castle,  Hyrcania,  were  put  to  death." 

a  Bell.  Jud.  ii.  3.  1  ff.  ;  Antiq.  xvii.  10.  1  ff. ;  ibid.  10. 



burnt,  the  sacred  treasures  plundered,  and  two  thousand 
of  the  insurrectionists  were  ruthlessly  crucified. 

Up  to  this  point  the  history  has  been  tolerably  clear ; 
but  now  (chap,  vii.)  comes  a  passage  which  is  most 
obscure,  and  has  given  rise  to  many  interpretations  and 
great  controversies.1  The  seer  is  evidently  speaking 
with  studied  ambiguity,  and  as  we  do  not  know  what  he 
means  by  "  the  last  times,"  nor  by  what  intervals  he 
divides  them,  it  is  impossible  to  arrive  at  any  sure 
solution  of  the  enigma  here  presented.  He  seems  to 
have  regarded  the  victory  of  Yarus  as  a  token  of  the 
subjection  of  Israel  to  the  heathen  yoke  and  the  virtual 

1  As  some  readers  may  like  to  exercise  their  ingenuity  upon  this 
crucial  passage,  I  give  it  as  it  stands  in  the  MS.,  premising  that  the 
italics  represent  the  probable  letters,  now  too  faint  to  be  deciphered 
for  certainty  :  "  Ex  quo  facto  finientur  tempora  momento  .  .  .  etur 
cursus  a  .  .  .  horse  'iiir  ueniant  coguntur  seciw  ...  ae  ...  pos 
.  .  .  initiis  tribus  ad  exitus  *vim  propter  initiuin  tres  septimse 
secunda  tria  in  tertia  duse  h  .  .  .  ra  .  .  .  tee."  The  various  attempts 
to  rectify  the  grammar  and  to  supply  the  lacunce  in  this  paragraph 
may  be  seen  in  Fritzsche's  note.  He  himself  leaves  it  as  hopeless. 
The  following  is  Wieseler's  version  :  "  Ex  quo  facto  finientur  tempora, 
momento  finietur  cursus  annorum.  Horse  iiii  venient ;  cogentur 
seculi  septimse  (dirse  ?)  postumse  in  initiis  tribus  ad  exitus  viiii  ; 
propter  initiuin  tres  septimse,  secunda  trias,  in  tertia  duse  horse 
peractse."  "  Then  shall  press  on  the  nine  last  fearful  weeks  (year- 
weeks,  as  in  Dan.  ix.  24)  of  the  age  with  three  beginnings  unto  the 
end  ;  next  to  the  beginning  (the  subjugation  of  Judea  by  Pompey) 
are  three  weeks,  a  second  triad  (of  year- weeks),  in  the  third  triad 
are  two  hours  accomplished."  Pompey  took  Jerusalem  A.U.C.  691  ; 
the  nine  weeks,  or  63  years,  at  the  close  of  which  the  age  shall  come 
to  an  end,  coincide  with  A.U.C.  754,  which  is  a  little  after  the  time 
of  the  war  of  Varus.  The  insurrection  of  Judas,  which  the  Jews 
dignified  with  this  name,  occurred  A.U.C.  750,  the  date  of  our 
Saviour's  birth.  An  explanation  of  this  mysterious  chronology  may 
be  seen  in  Wieseler's  article  ;  but  it  is  all  guess-work,  and  more 
curious  than  profitable. 


overthrow  of  the  theocracy.  "  Ex  quo  facto  finientur 
ternpora."  "  When  this  shall  come  to  pass  the  times 
shall  end.  In  a  moment  the  course  of  years  shall  end, 
when  the  four  hours  come."  The  "  four  hours  "  may 
possibly  be  the  "time,  times  and  a  half"  of  Dan.  xii.  7, 
and  the  following  paragraph  probably  defines  more 
exactly  the  various  stages  of  the  epoch  which  culminated 
in  the  erection  of  the  supremacy  of  Eome.  More  than 
this  we  are  unable  to  affirm.  Next  we  have  a  descrip- 
tion of  the  Herodian  princes  under  Eoman  rule,  and 
the  parties  then  prevalent :  "  among  them  shall  reign 
pestilent  and  godless  men,  boasting  themselves  to  be 
just,1  zealous  indeed,  but  crafty,  self-pleasers,  hypocrites. 
These  are  gluttonous  and  wine-bibbers ;  they  devour  the 
substance  of  the  poor,  saying  that  they  do  it  for  pity's 
sake ;  their  language  is :  Let  us  eat  and  drink  luxuri- 
ously as  princes.  Their  hands  work  iniquity,  and  their 
tongue  speaketh  proud  things :  Touch  me  not  lest  thou 
defile  me." f'  One  cannot  help  seeing  here  a  reference  to 
the  Herodians,  and,  in  the  latter  part,  to  "the  scribes 
and  Pharisees,  hypocrites,"  who  were  so  sternly  de- 

1  MS. :  "docentes  (?  dicentes)  se  esse  justos."    Some  commentators 
see  here  a  reference  to  the  Sadducees  and  a  play  on  their  name, 
Tsedhukim,  the  Kighteous,  as  they  are  called  in  the  Mishna. 

2  Comp.  Mark  vii.  1  ff.     It  is  noteworthy  that  a  contemporary  of 
our  Lord  uses  very  similar  terms  to  those  which  He  employed  in 
censuring  these  professors  of  religion.     The  clause  above :  "  They 
devour  the  substance  of  the  poor,"  etc.,  is  in  the  MS. :  "   .  .  .  rum 
bonorum  com  e  stores  dicentes  se  hcec  facere  propter  misericordiam." 
Editors  make  .  .  .  rum  stand  for  "  pauperum ; "  it  might  equally 
well  represent  "  viduarum,"  and  then  the  likeness  to  the  clause  in 
Matt,  xxiii.  14  would  be  very  remarkable.     In  both  passages  the 
hypocrites  are  represented  as  teaching  people  to  spend  their  sub- 
stance upon  them  as  putting  it  to  a  holy  use. 


nounced  by  our  Lord  in  St.  Matt,  xxiii.  The  first 
portion  of  the  description  applies  closely  to  the  Sad- 
ducaic  faction  in  Herod's  half-pagan  court,  which  really 
affected  the  doctrine  of  the  Epicureans.  Then  falls 
upon  them  the  punishment  of  their  iniquity :  "  Lo,  then 
shall  come  on  them  a  wrath  and  a  vengeance  such  as 
never  before  were  seen.  A  mighty  power  shall  be 
roused  against  them ;  those  who  confess  circumcision 
shall  be  crucified,  and  they  who  deny  it  shall  be  tortured 
and  imprisoned ;  their  wives  shall  be  given  over  to  the 
heathen,  and  their  children  shall  be  made  uncircumcised. 
Under  pain  of  fire  and  sword  they  shall  be  compelled  to 
carry  the  idols  of  their  masters,1  to  offer  on  their  altars, 
and  to  blaspheme  the  great  name  of  God."  The  perse- 
cution here  foreshadowed  recalls,  and  is  meant  to  recall, 
that  under  Antiochus  Epiphanes.2  Is  there  any  parallel 
to  be  found  within  the  limits  of  the  period  to  which  we 
attribute  the  composition  of  the  Assumption  ?  Colani 3 
boldly  says  there  is  not,  and  affirms  that  the  only  perse- 
cution which  answers  to  the  one  mentioned  in  the  text, 
is  that  which  took  place  under  Adrian  as  a  punishment 
for  the  rebellion  of  Bar-Cocheba,  A.D.  136.  But  for  an 
author,  writing  the  history  of  the  Jews  (be  it  in  a  pre- 
dictive form),  to  omit  all  mention  of  the  destruction 
of  Jerusalem  under  Titus,  and  to  leap  at  once  to  the 
calamities  which  were  consummated  by  the  erection  of 
^Elia  Capitolina,  is  a  proceeding  so  very  improbable,  that 

1  "Cogentur  palam  bajulare  iclola  eorum  inquinata."     Comp.  Bar. 
vi.  4.  86, 

2  Comp.  1  Mace.  i.  22  if.,  43  ff. 

8  Revue  de  Theol.  p.  75.     See  also  Volkmar,  pp.  58  ff. 


we  cannot  admit  it  for  a  moment.  The  other  alternative 
(if  it  be  granted  Adrian's  persecution  is  meant)  would  be 
to  endow  Pseudo-Moses  with  the  true  spirit  of  prophecy, 
or  at  least  to  allow  that  he  has  made  a  most  happy 
guess  at  the  future  which  subsequent  events  fully  justi- 
fied. Of  course,  Colani  and  those  who  hold  his  opinion 
would  say  that  the  book  was  written  after  A.D.  136  ; 
but  I  have  already  given  reasons  for  assigning  it  to  a 
much  earlier  date,  nor  does  this  part  of  the  "  prophecy  " 
alter  this  decision.  Evidently  the  writer  wished  to 
announce  in  striking  terms  the  chastisement  which  he 
saw  coming  upon  his  nation  from  heathen  Borne.  How 
could  he  better  herald  this  than  by  recalling  to  mind  the 
awful  cruelties  of  Epiphanes,  and  using  his  acts  as  a 
type  of  the  hostility  of  godless  tyrants  assailing  the 
fallen  Israel  ?  What  those  cruelties  were,  and  how  in 
many  particulars  they  answered  to  the  description  in  our 
text,  may  be  seen  in  the  beginning  of  the  First  Book  of 
Maccabees.  That,  as  a  fact,  the  atrocities  of  earlier  days 
were  repeated  in  after  years,  is  only  what  might  have 
been  expected.  Given  similar  victims,  similar  circum- 
stances, similar  perpetrators,  the  result  was  sure  to  be 
analogous  also.  Here,  as  elsewhere,  history  repeats 
itself,  and  we  need  seek  no  closer  fulfilment  of  the 
prediction.  By  speaking,  in  the  following  paragraph, 
of  "  a  second  vengeance,"  the  writer  seems  to  desire  to 
call  to  remembrance  the  persecution  of  Antiochus. 

We  now  come  to  the  great  crux  of  the  whole  book 
(chap,  ix.),  at  a  satisfactory  solution  of  which  no  com- 
mentator has  yet  arrived.  <:  In  that  day,  at  his  com- 
mand (illo  dicente)  a  man  shall  arise  from  the  tribe  of 


Levi,  whose  name  shall  be  Taxo.  And  he  shall  call  his 
seven  sons  unto  him,  and  thus  address  them :  '  Behold, 
my  sons,  a  second  time  has  vengeance  fallen  upon  this 
people,  a  cruel,  foul  punishment,  and  pitiless  captivity. 
What  nation  or  people  has  suffered  for  their  iniquities  as 
we  have  suffered?  Ye  see  and  know  that  we  have 
never  tempted  God,1  neither  our  fathers  nor  ancestors,  so 
as  to  transgress  His  commandments.  And  herein  lies 
our  strength.  Let  us  then  do  this :  let  us  fast  for  three 
days ;  and  on  the  fourth  day  let  us  go  into  a  cave  which 
is  in  the  field,  and  rather  die  than  break  the  command- 
ments of  our  God.  For  if  we  do  this  and  die,  the  Lord 
will  avenge  our  blood.' "  Now  the  question  is,  who  is 
meant  by  "  Taxo  ?  "  Is  it  a  real  name  ?  Are  we  to  take 
it  as  representing  a  certain  numerical  value,  as  the  beast 
in  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John  ?  And  if  so,  is  the  name 
Greek,  Latin,  or  Hebrew  ?  Or  is  it  a  cypher,  containing 
the  same  number  of  letters  as  the  name  intended  ?  Into 
these  and  such  like  questions  editors  have  entered  at 
great  length,  with  this  conclusion,  according  to  Fritzsche, 
with  which  I  am  forced  to  agree :  "  ut  nemo  adhuc 
inventus  est,  qui  nomen  satis  probabiliter  enuclearet,  ita 
de  ejus  explicatione  videtur  desperandum."  Among  the 
various  theories  offered,  that  of  Wieseler 2  seems  in  some 
respects  reasonable.  In  his  view  the  seer  is  again  intro- 
ducing details  from  Maccabaean  history,  such  as  occur  in 
1  Mace.  ii.  29  ff.  and  2  Mace.  vi.  11  ff,  or  from  the 

1  The  MS.  gives :    "  quia  nunquam  temptans  deum  nee  patres," 
etc.      Fritzsche  corrects,  "  temptavimus  ; "   Volkmar,  temptantes  ; " 
Colani  retains  "  temptans,"  referring,  according  to  his  interpretation, 
to  Kabbi  Jehouda-ben-Baba. 

2  Jahrb.  1868,  p.  629. 


deeds  of  that  Matthias  who  was  the  ringleader  in  the 
disturbances  which  took  place  on  the  rumour  of  the 
death  of  Herod,  and  who,  according  to  Josephus  (Antiq. 
xvii.  6  ;  Bell.  Jud.  i.  33),  made  much  the  same  speech 
as  Taxo,  before  pulling  down  the  Roman  eagle  on  the 
temple  gate,  urging  his  followers  to  sacrifice  their  lives 
in  defence  of  the  honour  of  God.  As  for  the  word 
"  Taxo,"  it  is  probably  the  Low-Latin  word  meaning 
"  a  badger,"  equivalent  to  the  Hebrew  ^nn,  tachash, 
which  is  very  similar  to  the  German  "  Dachs,"  and  has 
the  same  meaning ;  and  it  may  be  either  a  play  on  the 
badger  skin  which  formed  part  of  the  covering  of  the 
tabernacle,  or  the  appellation  of  the  man  who  had  to  act 
the  part  of  this  animal  by  hiding  in  dens  of  the  earth.1 
This  man  may  be  either  Judas  of  Galilee,  or  some  chief 
among  the  party  of  the  Zealots,  possibly  the  writer 
himself.  Now  the  principal  fact  that  militates  against 
Taxo  being  Judas  is  the  character  of  Judas  himself. 
Though  his  followers  saw  in  him  the  promised  Messiah, 
he  was  by  no  means  one  who  would  have  used  the  words 
attributed  to  Taxo.  Non-resistance  was  not  his  policy. 
Certainly  he  taught  that  it  was  better  to  die  than  to 
break  the  law  of  God ;  but  it  was  death  with  arms  in 
their  hands  that  he  exhorted  his  followers  to  meet.  His 
watchword,  "  We  have  no  master  but  the  Lord,"  led  him 
to  fight  with  earthly  weapons,  and  the  cruelties  and 
excesses  of  his  companions  have  stained  the  name  of 
Zealots  for  all  time. 

There  is  so  much  more  matter  interesting  and  import- 

1  Comp.  2  Mace.  x.  6  :  "  They  wandered  in  the  mountains  and  in 
dens  like  beasts."     Heb.  xi.  38. 


ant  in  this  little  work  that  we  need  not  spend  further 
time  on  the  interpretation  of  "  Taxo."  Suffice  it  to  say 
that  Hilgenfeld  affirms  the  original  to  have  been  rfy' 
—  363,  i.e.  numerically  Messiah.  But  it  is  inconceiv- 
able that  Messiah  should  be  represented  as  hiding  in  a 
cave  and  there  awaiting  death.  Volkmar  writes  rago, 
which  he  makes  =  431,  and  deems  that  the  person 
intended  is  Akiba,  the  comrade  of  Bar-Cocheba.  Colani 
and  Carriere  pronounce  that  the  translator  has  mistaken 
the  original  Aramrean  word  which  meant  "  ordinance  "  1 
for  a  proper  name,  whereas  the  sentence  really  signifies, 
"  there  shall  be  a  man  of  the  tribe  of  Levi  who  shall 
promulgate  an  ordinance,  or  give  an  instruction" — the 
instruction  being  the  address  to  the  sons  which  follows,  and 
the  speaker  being  Eabbi  Jehouda-ben-Baba,  who,  according 
to  a  Eabbinical  tradition,  acted  somewhat  in  the  manner 
of  "  Taxo  "  towards  the  end  of  the  persecution  of  Adrian.2 
But  the  date  of  the  Assumption  renders  this  last  theory 
utterly  untenable.  Perhaps,  after  all,  the  simplest  solu- 
tion is  to  regard  the  word  as  a  corruption  of  the  text. 

To  proceed :  "  Then  shall  His  (Jehovah's)  kingdom  be 
manifested  in  all  His  creation,  and  the  devil  (Zabulus) 
shall  find  his  end,  and  with  him  all  sorrow  shall  vanish 
away.3  Then  shall  power  be  given 4  to  the  messenger 

1  ND3D,  found  in  Chaldee  and  Syriac  in  the  sense  of  the  Greek 
word  roi^ig. 

2  See  Revue  de  Thdol.  pp.  80  ff. 

3  Comp.  Isa.  xxv.  8,  xxvi.  21.      The  word   Zabulus  is  merely 
another  form  of  Diabolus,  found  in  African  Latin,  di  being  pro- 
nounced as  2,  and  o  changed  into  u.     See  Ronsch's  article  in  Hilgen- 
fcld's  Zeitschr.  1868,  p.  100.     The  word  is  found  in  Cyprian  and 

4  "  Implebuntur  manus,"  a  translation  of  the  Hebrew  phrase  for 


who  is  set  in  the  highest  place,1  who  soon  shall  avenge 
them  (Taxo  and  his  comrades)  of  their  enemies."  This 
"messenger"  seems  to  be  the  prophet  like  unto  Moses 
of  Deut.  xviii.  15,  18,  who  himself  is  called  "the  great 
Messenger"  in  chap.  xi.  of  our  book.  Nor  can  we  be 
intended  to  see  in  this  personage  the  Messiah.  At  the 
most,  the  expected  One  was  an  equal  of  Moses,  superior 
to  him  neither  in  person  nor  in  act.  The  same  expecta- 
tion of  a  faithful  prophet  (Trpo^rij^  Trterro?)  is  found  in 
1  Mace.  xiv.  41,  where  the  epithet  points  to  Moses,  to 
whom  it  is  specially  applied.2  The  party  among  the 
Zealots,  to  which  the  writer  belonged,  looked  for  a 
heaven-sent  Saviour  and  Deliverer  to  prepare  the  way 
for  the  visible  reign  of  Jehovah ;  and  when  the  multi- 
tude, who  were  miraculously  fed  by  Christ  (John  vi.), 
exclaimed :  "  This  is  of  a  truth  that  prophet  that  should 
come  into  the  world,"  they  were  expressing  the  vague 
expectation  of  the  advent  of  a  personage  like  unto 
Moses,  possessed  perhaps  of  some  Messianic  features, 
but  not  the  Messiah  Himself.  We  see  the  difference  in 
the  estimation  in  which  our  Lord  was  held  by  His  con- 
temporaries. "  Some  said,"  we  are  told  (John  vii.  40), 
"  of  a  truth  this  is  the  prophet.  Others  said,  This  is  the 
Christ."  And  although  we  know  from  Christ's  own 
words 3  that  Moses  wrote  of  Him  when  he  foretold  the 
appearance  of  a  prophet  like  unto  himself,  yet  this  was 
by  no  means  the  general  view,  and  a  distinction  between 

consecrating  or  appointing  to  an  office.  Comp.  Ex.  xxviii.  41  ; 
1  Kings  xiii.  33. 

1  "  Nuntii  qui  est  in  summo  constitutus." 

2  See  Num.  xii.  7  ;  and  in  the  New  Testament,  Heb.  iii.  2,  5. 

3  St.  John  v.  46  ;  comp.  i.  45  and  Acts  xxvi.  22. 


Christ  and  this  prophet  was  generally  recognised.1  In 
the  following  eloquent  passage  which  speaks  of  final 
triumph,  Jehovah  Himself  comes  to  the  rescue  of  His 
oppressed  people  : 2  "  Then  shall  the  Heavenly  One  arise 
from  the  seat  of  His  kingdom,  and  come  forth  from  His 
holy  habitation,  with  wrath  and  indignation  for  His 
children's  sake.  And  the  earth  shall  tremble  and  quake 
to  its  utmost  borders ;  and  the  lofty  mountains  shall  be 
humbled  and  shaken,  and  the  valleys  shall  sink.  The 
sun  shall  give  no  light,  and  shall  turn  into  darkness ;  the 
horns  of  the  moon  shall  be  broken,  and  she  shall  be 
turned  into  blood,  and  the  circle  of  the  stars  shall  be 
confounded.  The  sea  shall  retreat  to  the  abyss,  the 
springs  of  water  shall  fail,  and  the  rivers  shall  be 
dried  up ;  because  the  Most  High,  the  Eternal,  the  only 
God,3  shall  arise  and  come  manifestly  to  chastise  the 
nations  and  to  destroy  their  idols.  Then  shalt  thou  be 
happy,  0  Israel,  and  shalt  mount  on  the  necks  and 
wings  of  the  eagle,  and  thy  days  shall  be  fulfilled.4  And 

1  See  John  i.  21,  where,  noting  the  use  of  the  definite  article,  o 
vrpoQymis,  Theophylact  mentions  the  error  of  the  Jews  in  ignoring 
the  identity  between  the  prophet  and  the  Messiah.     See  Acts  iii.  22. 

2  Merx  and  Schmidt  see  in  this  portion  of  the  Assumption  an 
Essenic  psalm.     It  certainly  runs  easily  into  a  strophic  arrangement. 
But  the  writer  was  not  an  Essene,  for  in  that  case,  as  Schiirer  has 
pointed  out,  he  would  not  have  jeered  (as  he  does  in  chap,  vii.)  at 
the  Pharisaical  purifications  (Joseph.  Bell.  Jud.  ii.  8.  10). 

3  "  Summus  Deus,  eternus,  solus."     There  are  passages  parallel  to 
this  prophecy  in  2  Esdr.  (e.g.  vi.  24),  in  the  Book  of  Enoch  (i.  6, 
xci.  9),  and  in  the  Psalms  of  Solom.  xviii.  4.     Comp.  Joel  ii.  10,  31, 
iii.  15. 

4  "  Et  ascendes  supra  cervices  et  alas  aquilae,  et  implebuntur " 
(dies  tui).     The  last  words  are  a  conjecture  of  Fritzsche.     There  is 
evidently  something  omitted  in  the  MS.     With  this  reference  to  the 
eagle  we  may  compare  2  Esdr.  xi.,  xii. ;  but  there  is  no  need,  with 


God  shall  exalt  thee  that  thou  shalt  cleave  to  the  starry 
heaven,  over  the  place  of  their  habitation.1  And  thou 
shalt  look  from  above  and  see  thine  enemies  on  earth, 
and  shalt  know  them,  and  rejoice,  and  give  thanks,  and 
acknowledge  thy  Creator." 

The  triumph  over  the  heathen  power  of  Rome,  here,  as 
in  the  Book  of  Esdras,  represented  under  the  symbol  of 
the  eagle  (which  had  twelve  feathered  wings  and  three 
heads),  is  ascribed  to  the  direct  intervention  of  Jehovah, 
the  signs  that  are  to  accompany  His  presence  being 
adopted  from  the  imagery  of  the  Old  Testament  prophets. 
There  is  no  hint  of  a  conquering  Messiah,  a  Son  of 
David,  who  should  restore  the  dominion  of  Israel,  and 
reign  a  mighty  King  over  an  innumerable  people.  The 
Zealot  could  not  contemplate  the  accession  of  any  earthly 
monarch  to  the  government  of  the  chosen  nation  ;  his 
hopes  centred  in  the  restoration  of  the  theocracy  and  the 
visible  rule  of  Jehovah.  It  is  with  this  grand  expecta- 
tion that  he  comforts  the  stricken  hearts  of  his  brethren. 
Then  he  proceeds  to  define  the  time  of  this  epiphany. 
Addressing  Joshua,  he  says  :  "  Keep  these  words  and  this 
book ;  for,"  he  continues,  "  from  my  death  and  assump- 
tion unto  His  appearing  shall  be  two  hundred  and  fifty 

Volkmar,  to  conclude  that  Pseudo- Moses  borrowed  the  symbol  from 
Esdras.  The  profane  introduction  of  the  Koman  eagle  into  the 
temple  led  to  the  insurrection  repressed  by  Varus  ;  and  the  symbol 
would  be  naturally  used  by  any  writer  of  the  period.  Joseph. 
Antiq.  xvii.  6. 

1  "  Et  faciet  te  haerere  ccelo  stellarum,  loco  habitationis  eorum." 
If  "  eorum  "  is  correct,  it  must  refer  to  the  heathen  who  are  to  suffer 
chastisement,  and  the  place  of  their  dwelling  must  be  Koine.  The 
idea  is  that  the  Israelites  shall  see  and  exult  in  the  overthrow  of 
their  pagan  enemies.  Comp.  Isa.  Ixvi.  14,  24. 


times."  At  the  commencement  of  the  book,  if  the 
revised  reading  of  editors  may  be  trusted,  the  last  year 
of  Moses'  life  is  said  to  correspond  with  the  year  2500 
A.M.  ;  and,  taking  "  the  times  "  as  weeks  of  years 
(250  x  7),  we  find  that  the  great  Parousia  will  occur 
in  the  year  of  the  world  4250.  This  would  be  45  A.D. 
according  to  the  chronology  of  Joseph  us,  as  gathered 
from  some  portions  of  his  writings  ;  but  no  importance 
can  be  attached  to  this,  as  he  is  very  inconsistent  in  his 
dates,,  and  we  have  no  reason  to  suppose  that  Pseudo- 
Moses  followed  the  system  of  chronology  used  by  that 
writer.  Without  attempting  to  solve  the  enigma  of  the 
number  of  years,  I  should  be  inclined  to  suppose  that 
the  seer  had  no  definite  date  in  his  mind,  and  merely 
assigned  this  visible  interposition  of  Jehovah  to  the 
distant  future,  using  terms  in  his  vaticination  with 
which  the  prophets  of  old  had  made  him  familiar. 

But  it  is  time  now  to  turn  to  the  second  part  of  the 
Assumption.  When  Joshua  heard  the  words  of  Moses, 
we  are  told,  he  rent  his  clothes,  and  fell  upon  his  face, 
addressing  his  leader  with  words  of  grief  and  fear  : 
"  What  a  word  is  this  that  thou  hast  spoken,  full  of 
tears  and  sorrow  !  l  Thou  art  leaving  this  thy  people. 
What  place  will  receive  thee,  and  what  will  be  the 
memorial  of  thy  burial  ?  Who  will  dare  to  transfer  thy 
body  hence  as  that  of  any  other  mortal  man  ?  Other 

1  "  Qtue  est  plena  lacrimis  et  gemitibus."  Eurip.  Hec.  230  : 
aTsvoLypuv,  ovfe  ^oocpvuv  xsvog.  The  first  words  of  Joshua's  speech 
are  :  "  Quid  me  celares,  Domine  Moyse  ?  et  quo  genere  celabo  de 
quo  locutus  es  voce  acerba  1  "  Volkmar  and  Wieseler  read  "  zelares  " 
and  "zelabor"  for  "celares  "and  "celabo;"  and  the  latter  sees  a 
reference  here  to  the  party  of  Zealots  to  which  the  seer  belonged. 


men  are  buried  in  the  earth ;  but  thy  grave  is  from  the 
rising  to  the  setting  sun,  from  the  south  to  the  north  ; 
the  whole  world  is  thy  sepulchre.  And  thou  wilt 
depart ;  and  who  will  nourish  thy  people  ?  Who  will 
pity  them  and  be  their  leader  ?  And  who  will  pray  for 
them  every  day  that  I  may  bring  them  into  the  land  of 
the  Amorites  ?  How  shall  I  be  able  to  lead  them  as  a 
father  guides  his  only  son,  or  a  mother  her  daughter  now 
ripe  for  marriage  ?  And  how  shall  I  give  them  food 
and  water  ?  For  the  people  have  so  increased  under  thy 
prayers  that  they  number  now  a  hundred  thousand  men. 
The  kings  of  the  Amorites,  when  they  hear  that  thou  art 
departed,  will  war  against  us,  thinking  that  there  is  no 
longer  among  us  that  sacred  spirit  (Moses)  worthy  of  the 
Lord,  manifold  and  inconceivable  master  of  the  word, 
faithful  in  all  things,  the  Divine  prophet  throughout  the 
world,  the  perfect  teacher.  And  they  will  say :  '  Let  us 
attack  them.1  If  our  enemies  have  once  sinned  against 
their  Lord,  they  have  now  no  defender  to  pray  for  them 
to  the  Lord,  as  Moses  was  a  mighty  messenger,2  who  every 
hour,  day  and  night,  had  his  knees  pressed  to  the  earth, 
looking  to  the  Almighty  and  praying  Him  to  visit  the 
world  with  mercy  and  justice,  remembering  the  covenant 
of  the  fathers.'  Yea,  they  will  say,  '  He  is  with .  them  no 

1  This  is  an  important  passage,  showing  the  regard  in  which  Moses 
was  held.      "  Seel  et  reges  Amorreorum  cum  audierint  expugnare 
nos,  credentes  jam  non   esse  semet  (secus,  Fr.)  sacrum  spiritum 
dignum   Domino,   multiplicem    et    incomprehensibilem,   dominum 
verbi,  fidelem  in  omnia,  divinnm  per  orbem  profetem,  consum- 
mation in  saeculo  doctorem  jam  non  esse  in  eis,  dicent  eamus  ad  eos." 
Chap.  xi.     Comp.  Dent,  xxxiv.  10  ff. 

2  "  Magnus  nuntins,"  as  we  have  seen  above,  "  the  prophet  like 
unto  Moses  "  called  "  nuntius  qui  est  in  summo  constitutus." 


more,  let  us  drive  them  from  the  face  of  the  earth.' 
And  what  shall  become  of  this  thy  people,  my  lord 
Moses  ? " 

To  this  sorrowful  appeal  Moses  answers  with  encourage- 
ment. He  tells  Joshua  to  fear  nothing.  All  nations  are 
in  God's  hands,  who  has  predetermined  all  that  happens, 
even  to  the  least  particular,  and  unto  the  end  of  time. 
"  The  Lord,"  he  proceeds,  "  hath  appointed  me  to  pray 
for  the  people,  and  to  make  intercession  for  their  sins. 
Not  for  my  strength  nor  for  my  weakness  hath  this 
befallen  me,  but  from  His  mercy  and  long-suffering. 
And  I  tell  thee,  Joshua,  that  it  is  not  for  the  piety  of 
this  people  that  thou  shalt  destroy  the  nations.  The 
vault  of  heaven  and  the  foundations  of  the  world  were 
created  and  approved  by  God,1  and  are  beneath  the  ring 
of  His  right  hand.2  They  who  keep  the  commandments 
of  God  shall  be  increased,  and  prosper  in  their  way  ; 
but  sinners  and  the  disobedient  shall  have  no  part  in 
the  promised  blessings,  and  shall  be  punished  by  the 
heathen  with  many  torments.  For  it  is  not  possible 
that  He  should  destroy  His  people  utterly.  For  God 
will  come  forth,  who  hath  foreseen  all  things  in  every 
age,  and  His  covenant  is  established,  and  with  an  oath, 
which"  .  .  . 

Here  the  manuscript  ends,  some  ten  or  twelve  leaves 
being  lost.  The  missing  fragment  doubtless  contained 
the  conclusion  of  Moses'  address,  and  then  told  how 
Joshua  departed  to  his  appointed  work,  and  how  Moses 

1  Gen.  i.  31. 

2  MS. :  "  Sub  nullo  dexterse  illius  sunt."    This  has  been  rightly 
restored  by  editors  to  "  sub  annulo,"  etc.     Comp.  Hag.  ii.  23. 


took  his  Pisgah  view  of  the  promised  land,  died,  was 
buried  by  the  angels  in  spite  of  Satan's  opposition,  and 
received  his  "assumption"- — his  mortal  body  being  laid 
to  rest  in  the  unknown  valley,  his  immortal  part  being 
escorted  by  angel  bands  to  heaven  itself. 

It  is  unfortunate  that  the  only  quotations  of,  and 
references  to,  the  Assumption  which  have  reached  us 
from  antiquity  contain  sentences  and  statements  not  now 
extant,  though  there  can  be  no  reasonable  doubt  that 
they  were  portions  of  the  original  document.  From  our 
present  fragments  we  can  gather  enough,  however,  to 
teach  us  the  importance  and  utility  of  the  work. 

Like  many  other  apocalyptic  productions,  it  is  a  com- 
bination of  history  and  prophecy,  partly  a  narrative  of 
past  events,  partly  an  ideal  view  of  the  future.  It  is 
not  so  much  an  independent  prophecy,  wherein  the  seer, 
constrained  by  the  overmastering  spirit,  pours  forth  a 
stream  of  rebuke,  warning,  and  prediction,  as  an  expo- 
sition and  development  of  hints  given  in  the  Pentateuch, 
and  especially  in  Deuteronomy,  so  that  Wieseler  has 
termed  it  "  a  prophetical  Midrasch."  "Written,  as  it 
must  have  been,  in  the  first  half  of  the  first  Christian 
century,  it  contains  no  trace  of  Christian  ideas,  or  of  any 
acquaintance  with  the  pretensions,  the  life  and  death  of 
Jesus.  That  in  some  respects  our  Blessed  Saviour  would 
have  corresponded  to  the  notion  of  the  coming  prophet 
entertained  by  some  of  the  Zealots,  is  obvious.  As 
claiming  no  earthly  sovereignty,  He  would  have  suited 
the  sentiments  of  those  who  would  own  no  lord  but 
Jehovah ;  but  the  moral  triumphs  to  which  His  kingdom 
aspired,  the  bloodless  victories  of  religion,  would  have 


been  very  far  from  answering  their  hopes  or  fulfilling 
the  desires  of  their  fiery  hearts.  The  prophet  whom 
they  had  taught  themselves  to  expect  was  merely  the 
precursor  of  the  restored  theocracy,  when,  under  the 
visible  chieftainship  of  Jehovah,  the  heathen  should  be 
destroyed  as  the  doomed  Canaanites  perished,  and  Israel 
should  rise  victorious  by  earthly  arms  wielded  under  the 
direction  and  with  the  assured  assistance  of  God  Himself. 
At  the  same  time  it  is  interesting  to  remember  that  one 
at  least  of  Christ's  apostles  was  a  Zealot,  and  learned  to 
see  in  his  Master  "  the  Prophet  "  and  the  Messiah.  Now 
this  sect,  as  an  offshoot  of  the  Pharisees,  though  in  some 
respects  opposed  to  them,  doubtless  shared  with  them  the 
belief  in  the  resurrection  of  the  dead;  but  there  is  no 
direct  statement  of  this  doctrine  in  the  Assumption. 
Writing  in  the  character  of  Moses,  who  has  left  no 
teaching  on  the  subject  in  the  Pentateuch,  the  seer 
would  naturally  avoid  dogmatising  on  this  matter ;  but 
he  uses  the  phrase  "  being  gathered  to  his  fathers,"  which 
perhaps  in  his  time  carried  with  it  the  hope  of  the 
resurrection.  There  is,  indeed,  no  trace  of  Christian 
doctrine  throughout  the  work ;  it  is  distinctly  narrow 
and  national.  The  earth  is  made  for  the  chosen  people, 
whose  strength  lies  in  obedience  to  the  law,  and  whose 
transgressions  shall  be  punished  by  the  hands  of  the 
heathen.  But  the  Lord  will  never  wholly  destroy  the 
Israelites  for  His  oath's  sake  and  the  promise  made  to 
their  forefathers.  The  seer  never  looks  to  the  salvation 
of  the  heathen.  They  are  raised  up  merely  as  instru- 
ments of  chastisement  for  sinning  Jews ;  and  when  this 
purpose  is  fulfilled,  they  shall  themselves  be  judged,  and 


meet  with  the  reward  of  their  lawlessness  and  idolatry. 
He  does,  indeed,  condescend  to  correct  some  of  their 
prevalent  errors  concerning  creation  and  religion,  but 
this  is  done  for  the  sake  of  his  own  people  who  might 
be  led  astray  by  the  paganism  of  Herod's  court.  The 
selfish,  narrow  prejudice  which  so  often  appears  in  the 
Gospels,  disdaining  to  hear  of  favours  offered  to  non- 
Israelites,  is  found  conspicuously  in  the  Assumption. 
That  side  of  the  Messianic  idea  which  promised  light  and 
grace  to  the  Gentiles,  was  repugnant  to  the  Zealot.  His 
keen  sense  of  injury  at  the  hands  of  Home  blinded  him 
to  the  possibility  of  the  conversion  and  acceptance  of 
those  who  were  now  aliens.  Nor  did  he  see  the  necessity 
of  a  Messiah  such  as  we  Christians  receive.  If  we 
regard  the  description  of  Moses  given  above,  we  shall 
observe  that  the  prophet  usurps  the  place  of  Messiah ; 
this  "  Divine  "  personage  leaves  no  room  for  Christ ;  he  is 
the  mediator  between  God  and  the  people,  the  appointed 
intercessor,  and  nothing  higher  or  more  heavenly  is 
expected.  The  idea  of  the  Son  of  God  made  man  is 
wholly  foreign  to  the  seer's  theology,  and  the  only 
Messiah  he  looks  for  is  "  that  prophet "  who  should 
herald  the  restoration  of  the  theocracy.  And  that  this 
"  nuntius  in  summo  constitutus  "  is  not  a  Divine  person, 
is  shown  by  the  very  phrase  used  of  him  above :  "  his 
hands  shall  be  filled."  For  this  is  an  expression  employed 
to  designate  the  consecration  of  an  earthly  priest  or 
prophet,  and  applies  not  to  an  angel  or  to  Deity  Incar- 
nate. The  hope  of  Pseudo-Moses  is,  as  I  have  said, 
confined  to  the  Parousia  of  Jehovah  Himself  displayed 
by  some  manifest  sign  as  the  Shekinah,  when  under  His 



guidance  Israel  should  overthrow  her  enemies.  In 
believing  that  this  appearance  was  to  happen  soon,  the 
Zealot's  view  was  much  the  same  as  that  of  the  primitive 
Christians,  who  could  say  with  firm  confidence,  "the 
coming  of  the  Lord  draweth  nigh,"  and  expect  that  He 
would  in  their  day  restore  again  the  kingdom  to  Israel. 
That  this  hope  was  a  great  support  in  times  of  distress 
and  persecution  may  well  be  imagined ;  and  it  was  to 
give  definiteness  to  this  expectation  and  to  enforce  its 
lesson  that  our  book  was  written. 

For  showing  the  hopes  and  opinions  of  an  influential 
party  among  the  Jews  at  the  beginning  of  the  first 
Christian  century  few  documents  of  greater  interest  than 
the  Assumption  of  Moses  have  reached  our  times.  And 
the  particular  point  which  the  book  illustrates,  viz.  that 
the  expectation  of  a  personal  Messiah  was  not  universal, 
is  worthy  of  more  study  than  it  has  received.1 


In  addition  to  the  Book  of  Baruch,  a  translation  of 
which  is  contained  in  the  Apocrypha  of  our  English 
Bibles,  there  had  from  old  time  been  known  to  exist  a 
certain  document  in  the  Syrian  language,  called  "  The 
Epistle  of  Baruch  the  scribe  to  the  nine-and-a-half  tribes 
beyond  the  Euphrates." '  This  had  been  published  in 

1  The  same  view  is  found  in  another  Pseudepigraphic  work,  the 
Book  of  Jubilees. 

2  There  exists  also  an  Ethiopia  work  called  by  Dillmann,  "  Keliqua 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BAEUCH.          131 

the  London  and  Paris  Polyglots  in  Syriac  and  Latin,  in 
Latin  alone  by  Fabricius  in  his  Codex  Pseudepigr.  Vet. 
Test.,  and  in  English  by  G.  Whiston  in  his  Authentic 
Records.  Later,  a  French  rendering  was  given  by  Migne 
in  the  Dictionnaire  des  Apocryphes,  and  Lagarde  put  forth 
again  the  Syriac  version  in  his  Syriac  edition  of  the  Old 
Testament  Apocrypha.  Many  questions  resulted  from 
the  publication  of  this  document.  Was  it  a  complete 
work  or  a  fragment  of  some  larger  treatise  ?  What  was 
its  connection,  if  any,  with  the  usuallly-received  apocry- 
phal work  of  Baruch  ?  What  was  its  original  language  ? 
Who  and  of  what  country  was  its  author  ?  Jew  or 
Christian  ?  And  when  was  the  letter  written  ?  These 
inquiries  greatly  exercised  the  minds  of  scholars  abroad, 
and  the  theories  evoked  by  the  discussion  show  a  wide 
divergence  of  opinion.1  But  many  of  these  questions 
were  answered  by  the  discovery  in  1866  of  a  Syriac 
version  of  the  Apocalypse  of  Baruch,  of  which  this 
Epistle  formed  the  concluding  portion.  This  interesting 
work  was  brought  to  light  by  the  industry  of  A.  N". 
Ceriani,  the  learned  librarian  at  Milan,  to  whom  we  are 
indebted  for  the  disinterment  of  that  long-lost  book,  the 
Assumption  of  Moses.  In  a  MS.  of  the  sixth  century, 
Ceriani  found  a  complete  copy  of  the  Apocalypse,  which 
he  published  first  in  a  Latin  translation,  and  then  in  the 
original  Syriac,  both  in  ordinary  type,  and  later  (1883) 
in  a  photo-lithographed  facsimile.  This  Latin  version 
has  been  reprinted  by  Fritzsche,  with  a  few  emendations, 

verborum  Baruchi  haud  apocrypha,  quae  ad  tempus  quo  in  Babylonia 
captivi  erant  pertinent." — Ohrest.  dEthiop.,  Lips.  1866. 
1  See  Kneucker,  Das  Buck  Baruch,  pp.  190  ff. 


and  is  commonly  regarded  as  equivalent  to  the  genuine 

Before  discussing  the  contents  of  the  book,  a  few 
words  must  be  prefixed  on  the  subject  of  the  author  and 
matters  connected  therewith. 

The  earliest  quotation  of  the  book  occurs  in  a  lost 
work  of  Papias,  the  disciple  of  St.  John,  cited  by 
Ireneeus  (Adv.  Hceres.  v.  33.  3).  Herein  it  is  asserted 
that  in  Messiah's  days  the  vine  shall  have  a  thousand 
branches,  and  each  branch  shall  produce  a  thousand 
bunches,  and  each  bunch  shall  have  a  thousand  grapes, 
and  each  grape  shall  make  a  cor  of  wine.  Before  it 
was  known  whence  this  legend  was  derived,  neologian 
critics,  assuming  it  to  have  Christ  as  its  author,  found  in 
it  a  subject  of  ridicule  and  offence.  It  is  now  shown  to 
occur  in  the  Apocalypse  of  Baruch,  chap.  xxix.  That 
the  saying  was  attributed  to  Christ  is  easily  accounted 
for.  Papias  wrote  his  lost  work  between  120  and  130 
A.D.,  by  which  time  our  book  must  have  become  well 
known  among  Christians.  The  mention  of  Messiah 
occurs  just  before  the  legend ;  and  doubtless  persons 
remembered  the  story  of  the  vine  in  connection  with 
the  Messiah,  and  at  last  quoted  it  as  spoken  by  Christ 
Himself.2  Whether  the  Apocalypse  is  referred  to  in 
any  of  the  catalogues  of  sacred  books  may  reasonably  be 
doubted.  The  term  "  Baruch,"  in  Pseudo-Athanasius' 
Synopsis,  and  in  the  Stichometria  of  Mcephorus,  belongs 

1  The  most  available  comment  on  the  book  is  that  by  Joseph 
Langen,  Commentatio  qua  Apocalypsis  Baruch  anno  superiors  primum 
edita  illustratur,  Bonnse  1867. 

2  Ewald,:in  Gott.  gelehrte  Anz.  1867,  p.  1715. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          133 

probably  to  the  book  so  called  in  the  Septuagint  version. 
There  are  also  other  apocryphal  books  bearing  this 
name,  some  of  Gnostic,  some  of  Christian  origin,  and  it 
is  possible  that  they  were  known  to  the  writers  of  the 
catalogues.  But  a  portion  of  the  work  from  early  times 
formed  an  integral  part  of  the  Syriac  Bible,  and  to  this 
day  is  used  among  the  Jacobites  in  their  funeral  service.1 
Its  real  date,  however,  can  only  approximately  be  deter- 
mined. Of  course,  the  writer  merely  assumes  the  person 
of  Baruch,  the  son  of  Neriah,  for  literary  purposes,  not 
with  any  idea  of  imposing  upon  the  credulity  of  his 
hearers.  He  announces  at  the  commencement  that  the 
word  of  the  Lord  came  to  him  in  the  twenty-fifth  year 
of  Jechoniah,  king  of  Judah.  This  at  once  places  the 
revelation  in  an  unhistorical  region ;  for  Jechoniah  lived 
eleven  years  before  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  reigned 
only  three  months,  and  then  was  carried  captive  to 
Babylon.  And  the  departure  from  historical  fact  is 
continued  in  chap,  vi.,  where  it  is  said  that  on  the  next 
day  after  this  revelation  was  made  the  city  was  taken 
by  the  Chaldeans.  The  clue  to  this  apparent  mistake  is 
to  be  found  in  the  nature  of  the  treatise.  It  is  an 
Apocalypse,  and  in  it  real  events  are  introduced  with 
the  special  purpose  of  foreshadowing  or  delineating  other 
circumstances.  'Now  this  first  destruction  of  Jerusalem 
adumbrated  its  final  destruction  under  Titus,  and  we 
cannot  doubt  that  the  seer  is  referring  to  this  latter 
calamity  under  the  figure  of  the  first.  If  he  means  that 
the  vision  carne  to  him  twenty-five  years  after  the 
Chaldsean  invasion,  he  intends  to  affirm  that  he  received 
1  Kenan,  Journal  des  Savants,  April  1877. 


the  revelation  so  long  after  the  ruin  of  the  holy  city, 
that  is,  about  95  A.D.  Or  the  twenty-five  years  may  be 
dated  from  the  captivity  of  Jechoniah,  which  was  some 
eleven  years  earlier,  a  mode  of  reckoning  used  by  Ezekiel 
(e.g.  chap.  xxix.  17,  xxx.  20,  xxxi.  1)  and  the  exiles  in 
Chaldaea.  This  would  make  the  date  of  our  book  to 
be  about  84  A.D.  That  it  was  composed  in  early  Chris- 
tian times  may  be  gathered  from  certain  passages  which 
bear  evident  marks  of  being  no  late  interpolations, 
but  portions  of  the  original  work.  Omitting  for  the 
present  those  which  contain  Messianic  teaching,  we 
will  quote  a  few  which  betray  a  Christian  spirit  or 
some  acquaintance  with  the  literature  of  the  New 
Testament.1  Chap.  x.  13,  14:  "Ye  bridegrooms,  enter 
not  into  your  chambers ;  ye  women,  pray  not  that  ye 
may  bear  children ;  for  the  barren  shall  rejoice,  and  they 
that  have  not  sons  shall  be  glad,  and  they  that  have  sons 
shall  be  sorrowful "  (comp.  Matt.  xxiv.  1 9  ;  Luke  xxiii. 
29).  Chap.  xxi.  13  :  "If  this  were  the  only  life  which 
men  have,  nothing  could  be  more  miserable  "  ( 1  Cor.  xv. 
19).  Chap.  xxiv.  1 :  "  Lo  the  days  come,  and  the  books 
shall  be  opened,  in  which  are  written  the  sins  of  those 
who  have  sinned,  and  the  treasure-houses  shall  be  dis- 
closed in  which  is  gathered  the  righteousness  of  those 
who  were  justified  on  earth"  (Rev.  xx.  12).  Chap,  xlviii. 
34  :  "  There  shall  be  rumours  many  and  messengers  not 
a  few ;  and  mighty  works  shall  be  shown,  and  promises 
made  of  which  some  shall  be  vain  and  some  shall  be  con- 
firmed" (Matt.  xxiv.  24-26).  Chap.  xx.  1,  2:  "The 
days  shall  come  when  the  times  shall  hasten  more  than 
1  Kneucker,  p.  195. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          135 

of  old,  and  the  hours  shall  speed  on  quicker  than  before, 
and  the  years  shall  pass  away  more  rapidly  than  now. 
For  this  I  have  sustained  Zion,  that  I  might  rather  hasten 
and  visit  the  world  in  her  time  "  ("  For  the  elect's  sake 
those  days  shall  be  shortened,"  Matt.  xxiv.  22).  Chap, 
liv.  10:  "Blessed  is  my  mother  among  them  that  bear 
children,  praised  shall  she  be  among  women "  (Luke  i. 
'42,  xi.  27).  "For  what  gain  have  men  lost  their  life, 
and  what  have  they  who  were  once  on  earth  given  in 
exchange  for  their  soul  "  (chap.  1.).  This  is  remarkably 
similar  to  Matt.  xvi.  25,  26,  especially  as  in  both 
passages  the  pleasures  of  this  life  are  contrasted  with  the 
joys  of  heaven.  The  many  parallelisms  between  our  book 
and  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John  make  it  almost  a  certainty 
that  the  seer  was  acquainted  with  the  latter  work.1 
Thus  it  is  said,  chaps,  xx.,  xlviii.,  that  the  end  of  the 
times  draws  near  (Rev.  i.  1,  3,  xxii.  7);  chaps,  xxi.,  lix., 
that  spirits  stand  before  the  throne  of  God  like  burning 
lamps  (Eev.  i.  4,  iv.  5)  ;  chaps,  ii.,  xiv.,  that  the  righteous 
intercede  for  sinners  before  God  (Rev.  v.  8,  viii.  3) ;  chap, 
xlviii.,  evil  spirits  and  those  who  are  inspired  by  them 
shall  work  miracles  (Rev.  xiii.  13,  xvi.  14);  chap,  xxix., 
the  hidden  manna  shall  be  given  as  a  reward  to  the 
righteous  (Rev.  ii.  17).  Chaps.  Ixxvii.,  Ixxxvii.,  an  eagle 
is  sent  to  make  a  solemn  announcement  (Rev.  viii.  13 
aerov)  ;  chap,  xxviii.,  the  number  three  and  a  half  is  used 
in  mystic  computation  of  time  (Rev.  iii.  9,  etc.) ;  chap, 
iv.,  the  sacred  city  Jerusalem  is  taken  up  to  heaven, 
which  St.  John  sees  descending  (Rev.  iii.  12,  xxi.  2). 
Then  there  are  many  expressions  which  have  a  Christian 
1  See  Langen,  p.  4. 


sound,  as  Faith,  Faithful,  Those  who  believe,  The 
written  law,  Future  judgment,  Promise  of  the  life  to 
come,  The  new  world,  The  mouth  of  hell,  The  place  of 
hope,  Saved  in  his  works  (Jas.  ii.  14).  These  and  such- 
like terms  do  not  necessarily  imply  that  the  writer  was  a 
Christian,  which  notion  his  views  concerning  the  Messiah 
decidedly  nullify ;  but  they  show  that  he  was  conversant 
with  Christian  ideas,  and  had  some  acquaintance  with  the 
new  literature  which  had  sprung  up  under  the  gospel. 
It  is  supposed  that  the  book  was  written  before  the 
Second  Book  of  Esdras  (as  it  is  called  in  our  Bibles). 
That  in  many  points  the  two  works  have  a  remarkable 
affinity  cannot  be  disputed.  The  only  doubt  is,  which  of 
the  two  is  prior  to  the  other.  Many  critics  have  decided 
that  Baruch  borrowed  from  Ezra ;  but  their  arguments 
are  very  weak,  and  Schiirer  has  given  reasons  for  deciding 
the  other  way,  and  assigning  priority  of  composition  to 
our  book.  According  to  him,  Esdras  is  of  a  much  more 
finished  character,  and  shows  greater  maturity  of  thought 
and  more  lucidity  of  style — points  which  intimate  a  later 
origin.  But  the  point  must  be  left  undecided. 

Why  the  writer  has  assumed  the  name  of  Baruch  is 
not  difficult  to  imagine.  The  fame  of  one  so  well  known, 
and  associated  with  the  great  prophet  Jeremiah,  would 
add  an  authority  to  a  work  which  no  other  personality 
would  have  offered.  Since,  too,  as  must  be  allowed,  the 
book  has  a  close  and  remarkable  analogy  with  what  we 
call  the  Second  Book  of  Esdras,1  another  reason  may  be 
found  for  the  appropriation  of  the  name  Baruch.  We 

1  The  two  works  are  compared  by  Langen,  p.  6  ff.    See  also  Ewalcl, 
ut  sup.  p.  1707. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          137 

need  not,  with  Ewald,  hold  that  the  two  works  are  the 
production  of  the  same  author  (as  indeed  there  are  some 
facts  which  militate  against  this  view) ;  or  that  the  Book 
of  Baruch  was  intended  to  correct  some  erroneous 
opinions  of  Esdras  concerning  original  sin ;  but  let  us 
suppose  that  the  Second  Esdras  was  well  known  to  our 
writer.  Not  wishing  to  repeat  the  personification  of  his 
predecessor,  and  yet  desirous  of  giving  his  composition  an 
authorisation  not  inferior,  he  fixed  on  the  follower  of 
Jeremiah  as  the  recipient  of  the  Eevelation  which  he 
purposed  to  publish.  Whether  in  this  he  was  consciously 
treading  in  the  steps  of  the  composer  of  the  apocryphal 
Book  of  Baruch  is  a  matter  of  doubt.  Kneucker  identifies 
the  two.  His  view  is,  that,  whereas  in  chap.  Ixxvii.  the 
seer  was  to  write  two  letters,  one  to  the  nine-and-a-half 
tribes  to  be  conveyed  by  an  eagle,  and  one  to  the 
brethren  in  Babylon  to  be  taken  thither  by  three  men, 
and  only  the  former  of  these  is  forthcoming  in  the 
Apocalypse,  the  other  is  the  "  Baruch  "  of  the  Septuagint. 
This  is  described  in  the  Syriac  MS.  as  "the  Second 
Epistle  of  Baruch  the  Scribe,"  the  first  being  that  to  the 
nine-and-a-half  tribes.  Opposed  to  this  conjecture  is  the 
fact,  that  the  Book  or  Epistle  of  Baruch,  according  to  the 
Eeceived  text,  is  sent  from  Babylon  to  Jerusalem,  not 
from  Jerusalem  to  Babylon,  and  is  generally  allowed  to 
be  of  a  much  earlier  date  than  the  Apocalypse,  and  of 
Hebrew  origin.  The  Syriac  inscription  is  probably  an 
unauthorised  interpolation  intended  to  show  a  connection 
between  the  two  treatises,  but  warranted  neither  by 
internal  nor  external  evidence.  That  the  work  was 
written  originally  in  Greek  is  evident  from  an  examina- 


tion  of  the  Syriac  version,  wherein  are  found  actual  Greek 
words  transliterated,  as  well  as  what  were  evidently 
paronomasias  in  the  original,  but  which  have  lost  their 
force  in  translation.1  Besides  this,  the  superscription  in 
the  Syriac  MS.  expressly  notifies  that  the  work  is  a 
translation  from  the  Greek ;  and  there  is  some  evidence 
of  the  use  of  the  Septuagint  in  the  references  to  the  Old 
Testament,  as  where  Baruch  is  said  to  have  received  a 
revelation  under  the  oak  near  Hebron  (chaps,  vi.,  xlvii., 
Ixxvii.),  which  idea  is  probably  derived  from  Gen.  xiii. 
18  :  Trapa  Trjv  8pvv  TTJV  Ma^/3pij,  rj  r)v  ev  Xeftpw/Ji.  It  is 
certain,  too,  that  the  author's  locality  is  Jerusalem. 
"  Your  brethren,"  he  says,  chap.  Ixxx.,  "  are  carried 
captive  to  Babylon,  we,  a  poor  remnant,  are  left  here." 
Only  in  Palestine  or  Alexandria  could  such  a  book  have 
been  composed  in  the  Greek  language.  But  there  is  no 
trace  of  Juda30-Alexandrian  philosophy  (such  as  meets  us 
in  Philo's  writings  and  the  Book  of  Wisdom)  to  be  found 
in  the  Apocalypse.  Like  Ecclesiasticus,  it  takes  its  stand 
on  the  plain  dogmatic  teaching  of  the  Scriptures  and  the 
traditions  concerning  Messiah  then  extant.  To  none  but 
Palestinian  Jews,  who  had  seen  their  holy  city  destroyed, 
could  this  prophecy,  which  promised  restoration  and 
prosperity  to  their  ruined  capital,  have  been  addressed. 
This  point  being  settled,  we  may  fix  the  date  at  about 
A.D.  90.  We  have  noticed  above  an  argument  for  this 
date  from  the  author's  own  statement  concerning  the 
time  that  the  revelation  was  made  unto  him.  Another 

1  See  Kneucker,  p.  191,  note  2,  and  Langen,  §  vii.  We  have  in 
the  Latin  version,  "  agon  et  molestia  in  labore  multo,"  which  must 
be  the  equivalent  of  the  Greek  dyuv  rs  x.ccl 


may  be  drawn  from  Papias'  reference  to  the  book.  The 
lost  work  of  this  Father  was  written  about  A.D.  120-130. 
Now  he  quotes  this  Apocalypse  as  well  known  to  his 
readers.  Such  an  acquaintance  could  hardly  have  been 
obtained  under  thirty  years  or  more.  This  lands  us  again 
at  the  same  period.  So  does  the  inference  (if  legitimate) 
that  it  was  written  after  St.  Matthew's  Gospel  and  the 
Revelation  of  St.  John.  Nor  could  it  have  been  com- 
posed after  the  total  overthrow  of  Jerusalem  by  Adrian 
(A.D.  135).  The  destruction  of  the  city  by  Nebuchad- 
nezzar and  by  Titus  is  mentioned,  but  no  hint  of  a  third 
and  more  effectual  demolition  is  given.  On  the  con- 
trary, restoration  is  promised  after  the  second  ruin,  and 
the  people,  groaning  under  this  calamity,  are  comforted 
with  the  thought  of  speedy  and  most  complete  re-estab- 
lishment. This  will  place  the  writing  between  A.D.  70  and 
A.D.  135,  and  help  to  confirm  our  previous  conclusion. 

The  book  is  divided  into  two  unequal  parts,  the  first 
(chaps,  i.—  Ixxvii.)  containing  the  historical  points  and  the 
revelation  of  past  and  future,  the  second  being  the  letter 
to  the  nine-and-a-half  tribes.  The  former  is  sent  to 
Babylon,  which  we  must  consider  to  mean  Rome ;  the 
latter,  to  the  Jews  dispersed  in  the  Parthian  kingdom, 
"  across  the  river,"  as  it  is  expressed,  the  Euphrates  being 
the  boundary  line  dividing  the  Eastern  empire  of  the 
Parthians  from  the  Western  empire  of  the  Romans. 
This  distinction  between  the  two  great  members  of  the 
dispersion  is  found  in  many  other  documents  of  this  time, 
most  of  which,  however,  were  written  with  reference  to 
Rome.1  The  entire  demolition  of  ancient  Jerusalem, 
1  Ewald,  p.  1713. 


with  all  its  calamitous  consequences,  under  Adrian  led  to 
the  loss  of  much  of  the  literature  of  the  period,  the 
preservation  of  any  portion  being  probably  due  to  the 
care  of  Christians.  These  carried  with  them  in  their 
wanderings  the  books  which  have  come  down  to  us  or 
were  known  to  the  early  Fathers.  The  letter  at  the  end 
of  the  Apocalypse,  as  being  addressed  to  the  Eastern 
Jews,  was  soon  separated  from  the  other  part,  and 
translated  into  Syriac  and  widely  circulated ;  while  the 
other  section,  comprising  three-fourths  of  the  whole,  was 
so  completely  lost  that  it  soon  existed  only  in  a  Syriac 
version,  which,  as  has  been  mentioned,  itself  remained 
unknown  until  quite  recently. 

In  these  and  such  like  apocalyptic  writings  there  is  a 
certain  similarity  which  greatly  conduces  to  their  correct 
interpretation.  Under  the  general  design  of  comforting 
his  countrymen  in  times  of  trouble  and  defeat  with  the 
hope  of  the  speedy  appearance  of  the  Messiah,  the  seer 
composes  a  prophecy  which  shall  embrace  the  past,  the 
present,  and  the  future.  He  represents  himself  as 
receiving  direct  communication  from  God,  and  enjoined 
to  make  known  the  revelation  to  men.  Placing  himself 
in  the  distant  past,  he  gives  a  summary  of  the  history  of 
his  people  up  to  the  present  time,  touches  lightly  on  the 
events  that  pass  before  his  own  eyes,  and  then  in  figure 
and  type  shadows  forth  a  glorious  future  which  shall 
abundantly  compensate  the  distress  and  humiliation 
now  prevalent.  This  is  very  nearly  an  outline  of  the 
Apocalypse  of  Baruch.  The  first  portion,  comprising 
chaps,  i.-lxxvii.,  is  divided  into  seven  sections,  the  close 
of  each  section  being  usually  marked  by  a  fast  of  seven 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          141 

days.1  First  Section :  In  the  twenty  -  fifth  year  of 
Jechoniah,  king  of  Judah,  it  was  revealed  to  Baruch 
that  Jerusalem  and  her  people  should  be  destroyed,  and 
the  inhabitants  of  the  land  should  be  carried  away 
captive.  Upon  his  asking  whether  the  end  of  the  world 
should  come  then,  he  is  told  that  the  prophecies  which 
spoke  of  the  everlasting  covenant  referred  to  a  new  world 
and  a  new  Jerusalem  which  should  be  eternal.  On  the 
next  day  the  Chaldeans  took  the  city ;  but  first,  that  the 
enemy  might  not  be  able  to  vaunt  their  power,  the  angels 
destroy  the  walls,  and  hide  in  the  earth  the  precious 
things  of  the  temple.  Zedekiah,  the  king,  is  taken 
captive  to  Babylon,  while  Baruch  and  Jeremiah  are  left 
in  Jerusalem,  and  weep  and  fast  seven  days  (L-ix.). 
Then  Jeremiah,  by  Divine  command,  is  sent  to  Babylon, 
but  Baruch  stays  amid  the  ruins  of  the  city  to  receive  a 
revelation,  which  comes  to  him  after  another  seven  days' 
fast  (x.— xii.).2  Second  Section :  As  he  stands  on  Mount 
Zion,  a  voice  falls  from  heaven,  telling  him  that  his 
people  are  chastised  in  mercy  in  order  to  lead  them  to 
repentance:  he  complains  that  good  men  are  no  better 
off  than  sinners  and  the  heathen,  though  this  world  was 
made  for  God's  people ; 3  and  the  Lord  answers,  that  this 

1  So  2  Esdr.  v.  13,  vi.  31.     In  other  works  of  this  kind  the  fast  is 
usually  of  three  days'  duration  (three  weeks  in  Dan.  x.  2).     Comp. 
Assumpt.   Mos.   ix.  6 ;    2   Mace.  xiii.    12 ;   Test.   XII.   Patr.    Test. 
Jos.  3. 

2  Historical  truth  is  here  violated.     Jeremiah  was  compelled  to 
go  to  Egypt,  while  Baruch  in  the  course  of  time,  according  to  Jewish 
tradition,  made  his  way  to  Babylon.     The  seer  has  manipulated 
facts  to  suit  the  requirements  of  his  Apocalypse.     Comp.  Jer.  xliii. 
and  Bar.  i. 

3  This  notion  is  found,  2  Esdr.  vi.  55,  ix.  13  ;  Assumpt.  Mos.  i.  12. 


life  is  short  and  full  of  trouble,  but  the  life  to  come 
shall  set  right  all  present  anomalies.  And  he  bids 
Baruch  prepare  himself  for  a  new  revelation  (xiii.— xx.). 
Third  Section :  At  the  end  of  seven  days  the  seer  comes 
to  the  appointed  place,  and  asks  impatiently  to  know  the 
meaning  and  the  issue  of  God's  dealings  with  men.  He 
is  told  that  he  is  ignorant,  but  is  comforted  with  the 
hope  that  the  end  is  near,  when  good  and  evil  shall  meet 
their  reward ;  and  the  signs  that  shall  precede  this  final 
time  are  enumerated  under  twelve  divisions,  concluding 
with  the  days  of  Messiah  and  His  two  advents — the 
first  to  establish  an  earthly  kingdom,  the  second  to 
manifest  His  eternal  reign,  when  He  shall  raise  up  those 
who  have  slept  in  hope,  and  reward  them  with  heavenly 
glory.  To  the  question  as  to  the  extent  of  the  tribula- 
tion which  shall  precede  this  time,  the  seer  is  told  that 
it  will  affect  the  whole  earth.  Then  Baruch  summons  a 
meeting  of  the  elders,  and  announces  to  them  that  Zion 
shall  be  destroyed,  but  shall  be  rebuilt  again ;  yet  again 
it  shall  be  ruined,  and  for  the  last  time  restored  gloriously 
so  as  to  last  for  ever  (xxi.-xxxiv.).  Fourth  Section: 
Then  the  prophet,  as  he  sleeps  amid  the  ruins  of  the 
Holy  Place,  sees  in  a  vision  on  one  side  a  mighty  forest 
girt  by  mountains,  and  on  the  other  a  vine,  from  whose 
roots  issued  a  placid  streamlet.  Anon  this  streamlet 
became  a  great  river,  and  it  overthrew  the  mountain, 
and  tore  up  the  forest,  leaving  of  it  nothing  but  one 
cedar,  which  also  at  length  it  destroyed.  And  the  vine 
and  the  stream  exulted  over  the  fallen  cedar,  and  the 
vine  grew  more  and  more,  and  all  the  plain  was  filled 
with  flowers  that  fade  not.  The  seer  is  told  that  hereby 


is  signified  the  fate  of  four  kingdoms  which  have  afflicted 
Zion,  the  last  of  which,  the  most  powerful  and  most  evil 
of  them  all,  is  to  perish  before  the  arms  of  Messiah. 
"  Then  shall  be  revealed  the  chieftainship  of  my  Messiah, 
who  is  like  a  spring  and  a  vine,  and  He  on  His  appear- 
ing will  annihilate  that  congregation.  And  that  cedar 
which  thou  sawest  is  the  last  prince  (dux  ultimus)  who 
is  left  alive.  He  shall  be  brought  in  chains  before 
Messiah  on  Mount  Zion,  and  there  be  put  to  death" 
(xxxv.— xlvi.).  Fifth  Section :  After  another  seven  days' 
fast  Baruch  tells  the  people  of  his  approaching  departure, 
and  urges  them  to  continue  faithful  to  the  law,  explain- 
ing to  them  the  retribution  of  the  world  to  come. 
Another  seven  days'  fast  intervenes,  and  then  Baruch,  in 
answer  to  his  prayer,  is  told  of  the  tribulations  that  are 
to  come  upon  the  earth,  and  of  the  manner  of  the 
resurrection  both  of  the  evil  and  the  good,  and  their 
punishment  and  reward  (xlvil-lii.).  Sixth  Section :  After 
this,  he  sees  a  vision  of  alternate  dark  and  bright  waters, 
which  is  explained  as  a  record  of  Israel's  history  from 
Adam  to  Messiah  (xlviii.— Ixxi.).  The  glories  of  Messiah's 
eternal  kingdom  are  then  unfolded.  Baruch  is  informed 
that  shortly  he  will  be  taken  from  earth,  though  not  by 
death  (liii.-lxxvi.).1  Seventh  Section :  He  again  announces 
his  departure  to  his  friends,  prays  for  their  welfare,  and 
on  the  twenty-first  day  of  the  eighth  month  writes  two 
letters,  one  to  the  exiles  in  Babylon,  which  he  sends  by 
the  hands  of  men,  and  one  to  the  nine-and-a-half  tribes 
beyond  the  river,  which  he  entrusts  to  an  eagle.  The 
latter  Epistle  is  given  in  full,  and  concludes  the  book. 
1  Comp.  2  Esdr.  xiv.  9,  49  (Fr.). 


In  it  he  comforts  his  distant  brethren  under  their  trials 
with  the  remembrance  that  God  has  not  cast  off  His 
love  for  them,  but  is  only  temporarily  chastening  them 
for  their  disobedience.  Nebuchadnezzar  indeed  has  been 
permitted  to  afflict  them  grievously,  but  it  was  the  Lord 
who  destroyed  the  forts  and  walls ;  and  He  also  hid  the 
sacred  vessels  that  the  heathen  should  not  rejoice  over 
them.  All  shall  be  changed  ere  long ;  the  day  is  soon 
coming  when  the  Gentiles  shall  be  punished  for  their 
iniquity,  and  Israel  shall  be  rewarded ;  only  let  them 
prepare  for  the  life  to  come  by  virtue  and  obedience,  and 
all  shall  be  well  with  them  (Ixxvii-lxxxvii.).  The  other 
Epistle  is  not  given,  and  some,  as  I  mentioned  above, 
have  considered  the  Septuagintal  "  Baruch "  to  be  the 
missing  document.  But  as  this  theory  is  inadmissible, 
we  must  deem  either  that  the  writing  is  wholly  lost,  or 
that  the  two  Epistles  were  identical.  There  is  nothing 
improbable  in  the  latter  supposition.  Their  tenor  would 
naturally  be  similar,  and  it  is  difficult  to  see  what  more 
the  seer  could  have  said  than  he  had  already  expressed 
in  the  extant  letter.  The  conclusion  of  the  book  may 
have  told  how  Baruch  was  taken  from  the  earth,  after 
he  had  seen  in  a  vision  all  the  regions  of  the  world,  as 
it  had  been  promised  him. 

Such  being  a  general  view  of  the  contents  of  the 
Apocalypse,  we  can  now  enter  more  particularly  into 
some  of  the  matters  contained  in  it.  And  first,  there 
are  some  puzzles  connected  with  numbers  which  must 
be  mentioned.  Two  such  riddles  confront  us,  a  shorter 
and  a  longer.1  The  former  concerns  the  end  of  the 

1  Ewald  expounds  them  with  zest,  Gott.  gel.  Anz.  pp.  170-8. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          145 

present  world.  This  is  to  happen  at  the  conclusion  of 
"  two  parts  weeks  of  seven  weeks." x  The  seven  weeks, 
which  are  probably  derived  from  Dan.  ix.  25,  imply  an 
interval  of  49  years,  which  must  be  reckoned  from  the 
destruction  of  Jerusalem,  A.D.  70.  The  expression  "two 
parts  "  means  two-thirds,  as  in  Hebrew  and  Latin.  Two- 
thirds  of  this  period,  say  33  years,  would  land  us  in  the 
reign  of  Trajan  (A.D.  98—117).  In  the  chapter  pre- 
ceding this  prophecy  the  seer  foretells  a  course  of  twelve 
calamities,  each  more  crushing  than  its  predecessor,  which 
should  happen  before  the  end.  These  may  be  well 
understood  of  events  up  to  the  death  of  Domitian 
(A.D.  96).  But  all  this  is  pure  speculation,  and  calcula- 
tions founded  hereon  cannot  be  trusted.  The  longer 
riddle  is  on  safer  ground,  being  a  history  of  past  events 
in  the  form  of  prophecy  (chaps.  liii.-lxxiv.).  The  seer 
beholds  a  vast  cloud  rising  from  the  sea,  and  discharging 
black  and  clear  water  alternately  twelve  times  in  suc- 
cession. Under  this  image  of  dark  and  bright  waters 
following  each  other  in  succession,  the  writer  represents 
the  history  of  man  from  Adam  to  the  first  destruction  of 
Jerusalem.  The  alternation  of  light  and  shade,  prosperity 
and  adversity,  reward  and  punishment,  in  human  records, 
is  compressed  into  twelve  great  periods,  the  character 
of  which  is  marked  by  the  changed  appearance  of  the 
waters  in  the  vision.  "  And  it  came  to  pass,"  says  the 

1  "  Mensura  autem  et  supputatio  temporis  illius  erunt  duae  partes 
hebdomades  septem  hebdomadarum  "  (chap,  xxviii.).  This  some- 
what obscure  sentence  may  be  intended  to  signify  that  this  time  of 
tribulation  is  divided  into  seven  parts  which  are  weeks,  and  into 
two  parts  which  are  also  of  septenary  dimensions.  So  Langen, 
p.  16. 



seer,  "  that  the  cloud  began  to  rain  down  upon  the  earth 
the  waters  with  which  it  was  charged.  And  I  saw  that 
the  aspect  of  the  waters  was  not  one ;  for  first  they  were 
black  for  a  time,  and  then  they  became  bright,  but  these 
were  scanty ;  and  afterwards  I  saw  black  waters  a  second 
time  and  then  again  bright ;  and  this  was  done  twelve 
times ;  but  the  black  were  always  more  abundant  than 
the  bright.  Last  of  all,  the  cloud  poured  forth  waters 
blacker  than  ever,  and  fire  mingled  with  them.  This 
fire  was  lightning,  which  gave  shine  to  the  whole  earth, 
and  healed  the  regions  on  which  the  dark  waters  had 
fallen.  Then  twelve  streams  arose  from  the  sea,  and 
subjected  themselves  to  this  lightning."  Upon  the  seer 
praying  for  the  interpretation  of  this  mystery,  the  angel 
Eamiel  is  sent  to  explain  it  thus :  "  Whereas  thou  sawest 
first  black  waters  descend  upon  the  earth,  this  is  the  sin 
which  Adam,  the  first  man,  sinned.  For  since  by  his 
transgression  came  into  the  world  death,  which  was  not 
in  his  time,  and  sorrow  and  pain,  and  labour,  what  could 
there  be  blacker  than  these  things  ?  Adam  endangered 
his  own  soul  and  the  souls  of  other  men,  so  that  all  who 
lived  on  earth  perished  in  the  Flood.  These  are  the  first 
black  waters.  And  whereas  after  these  thou  didst  see 
bright  waters,  this  denotes  the  advent  of  Abraham  and  his 
son  and  his  sons'  sons  and  those  who  are  like  unto  them ; 
because  at  that  time,  though  there  was  no  written  law 
among  them,  yet  the  commandments  were  duly  observed, 
and  faith  in  the  judgment  to  come  arose,  and  the  hope  of 
a  new  world  was  then  built  up,  and  the  promise  of  the 
life  hereafter  was  planted  in  men's  hearts.  These  are 
the  first  bright  waters  which  thou  sawest."  And  thus  the 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          147 

aiigel  expounds  the  signification  of  the  vision  unto  the  first 
destruction  of  Jerusalem  and  onwards  to  Messiah's  time. 
Then  we  have  the  doings  of  subsequent  sinful  generations, 
especially  the  Egyptians,  contrasted  with  Moses,  Joshua, 
and  the  Sinaitic  revelations ;  the  works  of  the  Amorites 
and  magicians  contrasted  with  the  times  of  David  and 
Solomon ;  the  revolt  of  Jeroboam  and  the  sins  and 
punishments  of  his  successors  set  against  the  piety  of 
Hezekiah  and  his  defeat  of  Sennacherib  ;  the  ungodli- 
ness of  Manasseh  against  the  integrity  of  Josiah.  The 
eleventh  downpour  represents  the  tribulation  in  Baruch's 
own  time ;  and  the  twelfth  bright  water  adumbrates  the 
restoration  of  Israel.  The  last  dark  water  represents  the 
tumult  and  tribulation  which  will  come  upon  the  earth 
before  the  final  advent  of  Messiah.  In  this  interpreta- 
tion some  points  are  noteworthy.  There  is  a  strange 
opinion  about  Manasses,  king  of  Judah  (chap.  Ixiv.).  It 
is  said  that  his  impiety  was  so  heinous  that  he  was  con- 
demned to  the  penal  fire.  Ignoring  the  old  tradition  of 
his  repentance  and  consequent  acceptance  with  God 
(2  Chron.  xxxiii.  12,  13,  19),  of  a  belief  in  which  the 
apocryphal  "  Prayer  of  Manasses  "  is  an  evidence,  Pseudo- 
Baruch  testifies  that  though  his  prayer  was  heard,  he 
himself  was  lost.  "When  he  was  placed  in  the  brazen 
horse,"  probably  an  image  connected  with  the  worship  of 
Moloch,  "  the  figure  was  melted  with  the  ardent  heat, 
and  he  perished  therein,  a  sign  of  the  end  that  awaited 
him.  For  he  had  not  lived  a  perfect  life,  nor  was  he 
worthy ;  but  by  this  sign  he  learned  by  whom  he  was  to 
be  tormented  hereafter.  For  He  who  can  reward  is  also 
able  to  punish."  The  legend  found  in  the  Apostolical 


Constitutions  and  elsewhere l  gives  a  very  different 
result.  According  to  these  authorities,  at  his  prayer,  the 
image  fell  to  pieces,  and  he  escaped  unharmed,  returned 
to  Jerusalem,  and  lived  afterwards  piously  and  prosper- 
ously. The  opinion  of  Manasses'  damnation  in  spite  of 
his  prayer  is,  as  far  as  we  know,  peculiar  to  Pseudo- 
Baruch.  Concerning  the  angels  who  "kept  not  their 
first  estate,"  our  seer  holds  the  notion  that  they  fell  by 
their  commerce  with  the  daughters  of  men.  "  Adam," 
he  says,  "  imperilled  not  only  his  own  soul  but  the  angels 
also.  For  at  the  time  when  he  was  created  they  had  full 
liberty,  and  some  of  them  descended  and  had  intercourse 
with  women  ;  and  then  they  who  thus  offended  were 
tormented  in  chains.  But  the  rest  of  the  host  of  angels, 
an  innumerable  company,  kept  themselves  pure."  This 
interpretation  of  Gen.  v'i.  4  is,  in  the  main,  one  that  is 
common  enough  in  Jewish,  and  indeed  in  Christian, 
commentaries.  But  it  has  a  special  feature  which 
differentiates  it  from  other  glosses.  The  writer  seems  to 
teach  that,  as  the  tree  of  knowledge  was  the  trial  of 
Adam's  faith  and  constancy,  so  the  beauty  of  mortal 
women  was  appointed  to  be  the  probation  of  angels ;  and 
that  the  difference  between  good  and  bad  angels  con- 
sisted in  the  continence  of  the  one  and  the  unchastity  of 
the  other.  The  "  tormenting  in  chains "  reminds  us  of 
2  Pet.  ii.  4  and  Jude  6,  and  is  confirmed  by  many 
expressions  in  the  Book  of  Enoch.2 

1  Apod.   Constit.  ii.  22  ;    Suidas,  s.v.  Manasses  ;   Fritzsche,  Exeg. 
Handb.  zu  d.  Apokr.  i.  p.  1 58. 

2  E.g.  v.  16,  x.  4  ff.,  xiv.  4,  etc.     Such  passages  as  these  substantiate 
the  reading  anpa,7;j  chains,  not  oipal^  dens,  in  2  Pet.  ii. 


There  are  some  other  peculiarities  in  this  book  which 
are  interesting.  The  seer  claims  to  have  revelations 
made  to  him  in  two  ways,  by  an  angel,  and  by  the  voice 
of  God.  The  angel  he  names  Ea.miel,  "  who  presides 
over  the  visions  of  truth  "  (chap.  lv.),  and  who  tells  him 
(chap.  Ixiii.)  that  he  was  the  agent  in  the  destruction  of 
the  host  of  Sennacherib  in  Hezekiah's  reign.  The  name 
of  this  angel  is  not  found  elsewhere  except  in  the  Syriac 
version  of  4  Esdr.  iv.  36,  v.  20,  where  the  Latin  has 
Jeremiel  in  most  MSS.,  but  in  one  (Turicensis)  Huriel. 
Probably  the  name  Eamiel  is  a  corruption  of  Jeremiel, 
which  word  was  formed  from  Jeremiah,  who  might  well 
be  called  the  prophet  of  truth,  and  give  his  name  to 
the  angel  of  the  vision.  The  close  connection  between 
Baruch  and  Jeremiah  makes  this  supposition  very  pro- 
bable. In  other  passages  of  Esdras  (iv.  1,  v.  20,  x.  28), 
Uriel  is  the  heavenly  messenger,  which  is  in  accordance 
with  statements  in  the  Book  of  Enoch  (e.g.  chaps,  ix., 
xx.,  Ixxiv.),  where  an  angel  of  this  name  is  often  intro- 
duced. But  it  is  very  possible  that  the  three  names 
refer  to  the  same  heavenly  being.  Eevelation  by  the 
direct  voice  of  God  seems  to  be  an  unusual  claim  on 
the  part  of  Jewish  apocalyptic  writers.  Inspiration  by 
Bathkol,  the  daughter  of  the  voice,  indeed  is  asserted  by 
the  Eabbis  up  to  the  time  of  the  composition  of  the 
Mishna ;  but  this  was  never  considered  to  be  the  voice 
of  God  Himself,  but  that  of  an  angel,  His  agent  or 
minister.  Thus  when  the  voice  from  heaven  came  to 
our  Lord  (John  xii.  28),  some  of  the  people  supposed 
that  an  angel  spoke  to  Him ;  when  God  called  to  Moses 
from  the  bush,  it  was  an  angel  who  addressed  him ;  and 


when  the  Law  was  uttered  from  Sinai,  it  was  given 
"by  the  disposition  of  angels."1  But  Pseudo-Baruch 
especially  distinguishes  the  heavenly  voice  from  the 
revelation  by  the  angel.  "  It  came  to  pass  after  this," 
he  says  (chap,  xxii.),  "  the  heavens  were  opened,  and  I 
saw,  and  power  was  given  unto  me,  and  a  voice  from  the 
highest  was  heard,  and  He  said  unto  me."  It  is  not  till 
some  time  afterwards  that  Eamiel  is  said  to  interpret  the 
vision  of  the  waters.  Langen  supposes  that  the  seer, 
being  acquainted  with  St.  Matthew's  Gospel,  took  the 
hint  of  the  narrative  in  chap,  iii.,  and  thus  made  the 
voice  come  immediately  from  God.  I  should  think 
rather  that  the  writer  used  the  ambiguity  of  expression 
in  the  Old  Testament  to  enhance  the  dignity  of  the 
revelation  he  was  making.  To  do  this  he  had  no  need 
to  imitate  St.  Matthew's  account. 

On  the  subject  of  original  sin  our  seer  is  thought  to 
oppose  the  more  orthodox  doctrine  enunciated  by  Esdras. 
Both  writers  speak  of  the  evil  introduced  into  the  world 
by  Adam's  sin,  but  they  diverge  when  treating  of  its 
effects  on  his  descendants.  While  Esdras  teaches  that 
Adam  communicated  an  infected  nature  to  his  posterity,2 

1  See  Acts  vii.  53  ;  Heb.  ii.  2.     Joseph.  Antiq.  xv.  5.  3  : 
KctKhujTct,  ruv  "boyftuTuv  KXI  roe.  ouiurctrct  ray  tv  rdig  vopoig  B/ 
Tsrupd  TOV  Qeov  ftctQcvTUv. 

2  "  0  thou  Adam,  what  hast  thou  done  ?  for  though  it  was  thou 
that  sinned,  thou  art  not  fallen  alone,  but  we  all  that  come  of  thee  " 
(2  Esdr.  vii.  48).      "Unto  Adam   Thou  gavest  commandment  to 
love  Thy  way ;    which  he  transgressed  ;    and   immediately  Thou 
appointedst  death  in  him  and  in  his  generations"  (iii.  7).      "The 
first  Adam  bearing  a  wicked  heart  transgressed,  and  was  overcome  ; 
and   so  be  all   they  that  are  born  of  him.      Thus  infirmity  was 
made  permanent"  (iii.  21,  22). 


Pseudo-Baruch  sometimes  affirms  that  the  sin  of  Adam 
is  transferred  to  others  by  imitation  alone.  "  If,"  he 
says  (chap,  liv.),  "Adam  first  sinned^  and  brought  un- 
timely death  upon  all  men ;  yet  also  they  who  are  born 
from  him,  each  one  of  them  hath  prepared  future 
torment  for  his  own  soul ;  and  again,  each  one  hath 
chosen  future  glory  for  himself.  Adam  was  the  cause 
of  guilt  to  his  own  soul  only ;  but  we,  each  of  us,  are 
the  Adam  to  our  own  souls."  It  is  curious  to  trace  here 
indications  of  that  doctrine  which,  developed  into  Pelagi- 
anism,  became  the  cause  of  serious  controversy  in  the 
Christian  Church.  The  received  maxim  among  the  Jews 
was  that  the  whole  world  was  comprised  in  Adam  and 
sinned  in  his  sin.  The  expression  in  Job  xiv.  4  (""Who 
•can  bring  a  clean  thing  out  of  an  unclean  ?  not  one "), 
whether  we  take  it  interrogatively  or  optatively,  comes 
to  the  same  thing,  and  intimates  that  the  old  belief 
obtained :  "  Behold,  I  was  shapen  in  iniquity,  and  in  sin 
did  my  mother  conceive  me  "  (Ps.  li.  5). 

Let  us  turn  now  to  the  doctrine  of  the  Messiah  con- 
tained in  our  book.  As  we  know  that  the  apostles  and 
early  believers  expected  the  second  coming  of  Christ  to 
happen  shortly,  so  Pseudo-Baruch  looks  for  the  appear- 
ance of  Messiah  in  the  course  of  a  few  years.  In  their 
utter  dejection  and  distress,  seated  amid  the  ruins  of 
their  beloved  Jerusalem,  the  sorrowing  Jews  could  find 
comfort  in  nothing  but  the  hope  of  a  speedy  restoration 
under  the  leadership  of  Messiah.  The  actual  time  of 
this  Parousia  is  concealed  under  a  veil  of  symbolical 
words ;  but  it  is  to  be  preceded  by  exceeding  heavy 
calamities,  confirming  the  saying  "  that  man's  extremity 


is  God's  opportunity."     In  his  vision  the  seer  beholds  a 
kingdom  (Eome),  the  power  of  which  shall  be  greater  and 
more  evil  than  any  before  it ;  and  it  shall  rule  supreme 
for  many  ages  and  be  highly  exalted ;  in  it  truth  shall 
not  dwell,  but  all  who  are  stained  with  crime  shall  find 
refuge   therein,   as   evil   beasts  hide   themselves   in    the 
forest.     "  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  when  the  time  of  its 
fall  shall  approach,  then  the  dominion  of  Messiah  shall 
be  revealed,  and  He  shall  root  up  the  multitude  of  that 
kingdom  "  (chap,  xxxix.).     But  before  that  event,  "  the 
harvest  of  the  good  seed  ^and  the  bad  shall  come,  and 
the  Almighty  will  bring  upon  the  earth  and  its  inhabit- 
ants and  upon  its  rulers  confusion  of  spirit  and  stupor 
of  heart.     And  they  shall  hate  one  another  and  provoke 
one  another  to  battle,  and  the  base-born  shall  lord  over 
those  of  high   degree,  and   the   mean  shall    be  exalted 
above  men  of  renown,  and  the  many  shall  be  delivered 
to  the  few,  and  those  who  were  nothing  shall  rule  the 
mighty,  and  the  poor  shall?  be  more  than  the  rich,  and 
the  wicked  shall  be  raised  above  the  heroic,  and  wise 
men  shall  hold  their  peace  and  fools  shall  speak  :    the 
thought  of  men   shall   then  not   be  confirmed,  nor  the 
counsel  of    the  Almighty,  nor  the  hope  of   those  that 
hope.     And  when  what  has  been  foretold  shall  come  to 
pass,  on  all  men  shall  come  confusion,  and  some  of  them 
shall  fall  by  the  sword  in  battle,  and  some  shall  perish 
in  great  tribulation,  and  some  shall  be  ensnared  by  their 
own   friends.      But   the   Most  High   shall  reveal   it   to 
those  nations  whom  He  prepared  before,  and  they  shall 
come  and  fight  with  the  leaders  who  shall  then  remain. 
And  it  shall  come  to  pass  that  whosoever  shall  escape 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          153 

from  the  war  shall  die  in  the  earthquake,  and  whosoever 
shall  escape  from  the  earthquake  shall  be  consumed  in 
the  fire,  and  whosoever  shall  escape  from  the  fire  shall 
perish  in  the  famine.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  that 
whosoever  shall  escape  from  all  these  evils,  of  the 
conquerors  and  of  the  conquered,  shall  be  delivered  into 
the  hands  of  my  servant  Messiah.  For  the  earth  shall 
devour  the  inhabitants  thereof "  (chap.  Ixx.).  Other 
signs  are  mentioned  (chap,  xlviii.),  some  of  which,  as  we 
have  seen  above,  have  a  striking  similarity  to  those 
which  our  Lord  foretold  should  usher  in  the  last  day. 
No  safety  shall  anywhere  be  found  except  in  the  Holy 
Land,  which  "  shall  have  pity  on  its  own  children  and 
protect  them  in  that  day  "  (chap.  Ixxi.).  And  then  shall 
Messiah  begin  to  be  revealed. 

In  his  idea  of  the  reign  of  Messiah,  Pseudo-Baruch 
takes  a  different  line  from  Esdras  and  other  apocalyptical 
writers.  The  common  notion  of  a  great  Leader,  who  by 
a  course  of  uninterrupted  triumph  should  restore'  and 
enhance  the  glory  of  the  depressed  Israelites,  does  not 
satisfy  his  hopes.  This  is  only  one  and  a  partial  view  of 
the  effects  of  this  Divine  interference.  The  Messiah  has 
a  twofold  kingdom,  an  earthly  one  which  passes  away, 
and  a  heavenly  one  which  is  everlasting.  Such  a  ques- 
tion as  that  of  the  apostles  (Acts  i.  6):  "Lord,  wilt 
Thou  at  this  time  restore  again  the  kingdom  to  Israel  ? " 
spoke  only  of  temporal  restitution  and  sovereignty,  and 
would  not  have  intimated  the  full  hope  that  we  see  to 
have  been  conceived  by  our  seer.  Of  a  suffering  Messiah 
he  has  no  notion ;  nor  does  he  give  any  trace  of  the  later 
belief  in  two  Messiahs,  a  Messiah  ben  David  of  whom 


were  predicted  glory  and  triumph,  and  a  Messiah  ben 
Joseph  to  whose  lot  fell  all  the  foretold  sufferings  and 
woe.  His  Messiah  is  one  only  person  viewed  at  different 
times  and  under  a  different  aspect.  First  He  comes  as 
the  great  earthly  conqueror,  who  was  to  emancipate  the 
people  from  the  dominion  of  Eome,  punish  their  enemies, 
and  restore  the  Jews  to  more  than  pristine  glory.  In 
this  earthly  kingdom  all  the  Israelites  who  are  then 
alive  shall  have  their  part ;  and  while  those  who  have 
oppressed  them  shall  perish,  they  who  have  never  known 
them  or  had  connection  with  them,  and  they  who  have 
joined  themselves  unto  their  God  as  proselytes,  shall  be 
saved,  being  in  subjection  to  the  ancient  people.  This 
dominion  shall  be  established  in  the  Holy  Land,  when 
the  last  leader  of  the  enemy  is  brought  in  chains  to  Zion, 
and  is  there  condemned  and  executed  by  Messiah.  .The 
glories  of  this  kingdom,  in  accordance  more  or  less  with 
ancient  prophecy,  are  thus  described  (chap.  Ixxiii.)  :  "  It 
shall'  come  to  pass  when  He  shall  have  humbled  whatso- 
ever is  in  the  world,  and  sat  down  in  peace  for  ever  upon 
the  throne  of  His  kingdom,  then  shall  He  be  revealed  in 
happiness,  and  a  great  calm  shall  ensue.  Health  shall 
descend  like  dew,  and  sickness  shall  pass  away,  and  care 
and  distress  and  groaning  shall  no  more  be  found  among 
men ;  and  joy  shall  pace  through  all  the  earth.  No  one 
shall  die  before  he  hath  filled  his  days,  no  sudden 
calamity  shall  happen  to  any.  Trials,  accusations,  con- 
tentions, revenge,  bloodshed,  avarice,  envy,  hatred,  and 
all  such  things  shall  be  utterly  abolished.  For  these  are 
the  things  which  have  filled  this  world  with  evil  and 
vexed  the  life  of  men.  Then  the  wild  beasts  shall  come 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          155 

forth  from  the  forests  and  minister  unto  men ;  and  asps 
and  snakes  shall  issue  from  their  holes  to  become  a  little 
one's  plaything.  Women  shall  be  delivered  without 
pain.  The  reaper  shall  not  be  wearied,  the  builder  shall 
feel  no  fatigue,  for  all  works  shall  co-operate  with  the 
labourers  in  that  time  of  peace."  Like  other  apocalyptic 
writers,  Pseudo  -  Baruch  represents  the  happiness  of 
Messiah's  kingdom  under  the  figure  of  a  splendid 
banquet,  in  which  mighty  animals  shall  be  served  up  as 
the  food  of  the  righteous  guests.  The  Lord  says  to  him, 
chap.  xxix. :  "  Behemoth  shall  be  brought  to  light  from 
his  place,  and  Leviathan  shall  ascend  from  the  sea,  two 
great  creatures  which  I  made  on  the  fifth  day  of  the 
creation,  and  have  reserved  unto  this  time ; 1  and  then 
they  shall  be  for  food  for  them  that  are  left.  The  earth 
also  shall  give  her  fruits,  ten  thousand  for  one."  Then 
comes  the  passage  about  the  vine  (quoted  by  Papias) 
given  above.  He  proceeds  :  "  Those  who  have  hungered 
shall  be  gladdened,  and  they  shall  again  see  prodigies 
daily.  For  spirits 2  shall  go  forth  from  my  presence 
every  morning  to  bring  the  odour  of  aromatic  fruits,  and 
at  the  close  of  day  clouds  dropping  the  dew  of  health. 
And  then  shall  fall  a  second  time  the  treasure  of  manna, 
and  they  shall  eat  thereof  in  those  years,  since  these  are 
they  which  have  come  to  the  end  of  the  time." 

Such  is  our  seer's  description  of  the  earthly  reign  of 
Messiah.  But  we  may  note  that  in  two  points  he  differs 
from  many  of  the  writers  of  Apocalypses.  First  he 

1  See  2  Esdr.  vi.  49,  where  instead  of  "  Enoch,"  the  Syr.  and 
Ethiop.  version,  read  "  Behemoth."     Book  of  Enoch,  lix.  7  ff. 

2  Spiritus ;  or  is  it  "  winds  "  ? 


takes  a  more  liberal  view  of  the  Gentile  world  than  his 
contemporaries.  While  others  were  content  to  believe 
that  salvation  was  of  the  Jews,  and  belonged  to  them 
exclusively,  Pseudo-Baruch  admits  certain  of  the  Gentiles 
to  share  the  glories  of  Messiah's  kingdom.  Proselytes 
from  the  heathen,  and  any  that  had  taken  no  active  part 
in  oppressing  Israel,  or  from  their  remoteness  of  position 
knew  nothing  of  God's  people,  would  be  allowed  to 
participate  in  the  blessings  of  the  Messianic  reign,  pro- 
vided that  they  came  in  humbly  as  subjects  of  the 
heavenly  Prince.  It  is  interesting  to  observe  an  abate- 
ment of  that  jealousy  which  so  frequently  meets  us  in 
the  Gospels,  where  an  extension  of  God's  favour  to  the 
Gentiles  is  reprobated  by  the  Jews  as  an  opinion  profane 
and  detestable.  Our  seer  has  lighted  upon  a  great 
truth,  though  he  knew  not  its  full  import,  how  that  the 
Christ  should  be  not  only  the  glory  of  Israel,  but,  as 
the  aged  Simeon  believed,  a  light  to  lighten  the 
Gentiles,  and  to  be  for  salvation  unto  the  ends  of  the 

The  other  point  in  which  our  seer  differs  from  many 
Hebrew  writers  is  this :  he  allows  a  participation  in 
Messiah's  earthly  kingdom  to  those  Jews  only  who  are 
alive  at  His  appearing.  The  common  opinion  among 
the  Jews  was  that  the  righteous  dead  should  rise  from 
the  grave  to  inherit  His  glory :  this  was  to  be  their 
privilege ;  they  were  to  obtain  part  in  the  first  re- 
surrection which  was  quite  distinct  from  the  general 
resurrection  at  the  day  of  judgment.  Of  this  opinion 
Pseudo-Baruch  makes  no  mention.  "Messiah,"  he  says, 
1  Luke  ii.  32  ;  Acts  xiii.  47. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BAKUCH.          157 

"  shall  protect  the  people  who  are  found  in  the  appointed 
place,"  i.e.  Zion.1 

How  long  this  earthly  kingdom  is  supposed  to  last  is 
nowhere  distinctly  stated.  The  seer  speaks  of  the  time 
of  Messiah's  appearance  being  fulfilled  (chap,  xxx.), 
before  He  returns  again  in  glory,  but  he  does  not  assign 
any  definite  period  to  His  earthly  sojourn.  The  notion 
of  a  reign  of  a  thousand  years,  which  is  generally 
supposed  to  have  originated  in  Judaism  and  to  have 
passed  from  thence  to  Christianity,  does  not  appear  in 
our  book.  There  is  a  passage  in  Esdras  2  which  reckons 
the  duration  at  four  hundred  years.  This  is  probably 
derived  from  the  consideration  that  the  period  of  afflic- 
tion in  Egypt  was  to  be  compensated  by  a  similar  period 
of  refreshment  and  rest.  But  Pseudo-Baruch  gives  no 
confirmation  to  this  opinion.  Nor  does  he  assert  with 
Esdras 3  that  Messiah  shall  die.  He  passes  over  this 
event  in  silence,  and  proceeds  to  picture  His  return  in 
glory  in  the  fulness  of  time.  At  His  coming  all  men 
shall  arise  again,  not  Jews  only,  but  all  men ;  and  not  the 
righteous  only,  but  sinners  also.  "  To  the  dust  it  shall  be 
said,  Eestore  that  which  is  not  thine,  and  place  thou 
here  all  that  thou  hast  kept  safe  till  now  "  (chap.  xlii.). 
"  And  the  storehouses 4  shall  be  opened  wherein  have 
been  kept  the  souls  of  the  righteous,  and  they  shall 

1  Comp.  2  Esdr.  vi.  25,  ix.  8,  xiii.  16  if.,  49. 

2  2  Esdr.  vii.  28.     Comp.  Gen.  xv.  13  and  Ps.  xc.  15. 

3  2  Esdr.  vii.  29  :  «  After  these  years  shall  my  Son  Christ  die." 
This  clause  is  wanting  in  the  Arabic  version,  and  many  doubt  its 

4  Promptuaria.    The  word  often  occurs  in  2  Esdr.  in  the  same 


come  forth,  and  the  multitude  of  souls  shall  appear  in 
one  concordant  assembly,  and  the  first  shall  rejoice  and 
the  last  shall  not  be  sad,  for  they  shall  know  that  the 
end  of  all  the  times  has  come.  But  the  souls  of 
sinners,  when  they  shall  see  all  things,  shall  pine  away 
the  more ;  for  they  know  that  their  punishment  has 
come  and  the  hour  of  their  damnation "  (chap.  xxx.). 
"  The  earth  shall  restore  the  dead  which  it  had  to  keep, 
changing  nothing  in  their  form ;  but  as  it  received  them 
so  it  shall  restore  them,  and  as  I  [the  Lord]  have 
committed  them  unto  it,  thus  shall  it  place  them  before 
me.  And  they  shall  recognise  each  other"  (chap.  1.). 
Here  again  Pseudo-Baruch  is  not  in  agreement  with  the 
usual  opinion  of  his  contemporaries.  Josephus  l  asserts 
that  the  Pharisees  believed  that  the  souls  of  the  righteous 
alone  would  rise  again,  while  the  wicked  would  remain 
in  prison  everlastingly,  suffering  there  eternal  punish- 
ment. This  dogma  probably  could  not  be  truly  predi- 
cated of  all  Pharisees,2  but  it  was  undoubtedly  held  by 
a  large  majority  of  Jews.  The  Book  of  Enoch,3  which 
represents  the  current  belief,  teaches  that  the  souls  of 
sinners  shall  suffer  vengeance  without  being  united  again 
to  their  bodies,  but  the  righteous  shall  be  raised,  body 
and  soul,  to  participate  in  the  blessings  of  Messiah's 
reign.  And  such,  with  certain  modifications,  was  the 
opinion  that  generally  obtained  in  these  and  later  times  ; 
while  Pseudo  -  Baruch  teaches  that  synchronally  with 

1  Antiq.  xviii.  1.  3  ;  Bell.  Jud.  ii.  8.  14. 

2  Comp.  Acts  xxiv.  15.     Schoettgen,  Hor.  Heir,  in  Matt.  xxii.  29, 
and  in  Job.  vi.  36. 

3  See  xcviii.,  ciii.,  cviii. 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BARUCH.          159 

Messiah's  return  shall  be  the  general  resurrection,  the 
judgment,  and  the  eternal  reign.  Whether  the  period 
between  the  first  and  second  advent  of  Messiah  corre- 
sponds with  the  millennium  of  St.  John  in  Rev.  xx.  is 
a  question  which  we  cannot  now  discuss.  That  no 
mention  of  the  first  resurrection  is  made  in  our  book  is 
a  fact  which  separates  it  from  Jewish  and  Christian 
speculations.  One  thing  is  plain,  that  what  others 
call  the  second  or  general  resurrection  is  the  great 
event  which  Pseudo-Baruch  foresees  as  appertaining  to 
Messiah's  second  appearance  in  glory. 

In  presenting  the  details  of  this  resurrection,  the  seer 
says,  as  St.  Paul,  that  all  will  be  changed,  the  aspect  of 
the  evil  becoming  more  horrible,  and  that  of  the  righteous 
more  glorious  ;  the  one  being  transformed  to  the  splendour 
of  the  angels,  the  other  terror-stricken  by  fearful  sights 
and  visions  ;  the  one  made  bright  and  beautiful  to  receive 
the  blessings  of  the  eternal  world,  the  other  tantalised 
with  the  sight  of  the  blessed  and  sent  away  to  punish- 
ment.1 On  the  subject  of  the  happiness  of  the  saved  he 
enlarges  in  many  passages.  "  They  shall  see  the  world 
which  is  now  invisible  to  them ;  they  shall  see  the  time 
which  is  now  hidden  from  them.  And  time  shall  never 
more  grow  old  to  them ;  for  they  shall  dwell  in  the 
high  places  of  that  world,  and  shall  be  like  unto  the 
angels  and  equal  to  the  stars,  and  shall  be  transformed 
into  all  the  beauty  that  they  can  desire,  and  changed 
from  light  unto  the  radiance  of  glory.  In  their  sight 
shall  be  unfolded  the  breadths  of  Paradise,  and  there 
shall  be  displayed  before  them  the  comeliness  of  the 
1  Chaps,  xxxii.,  li. 


majesty  of  the  living  creatures  which  are  beneath  the 
throne,1  and  all  the  hosts  of  angels  who  now  are  holden 
by  my  word  from  being  seen,  and  holden  by  my  command 
that  they  should  stay  in  their  own  places  till  the  time  of 
their  appearance  is  come.  Thus  the  excellency  of  the 
righteous  shall  surpass  that  of  the  angels.  For  the  first 
shall  succeed  the  last,  those  for  whom  they  waited,  and  the 
last  those  whom  they  heard  to  have  passed  by ;  and  they 
have  been  delivered  from  this  world  of  sorrow,  and  have 
laid  down  the  weight  of  care."  If  it  might  seem  an  extra- 
vagant belief  in  the  mouth  of  a  Jew  that,  admitted  to  the 
life  beyond  the  grave,  he  should  be  more  excellent  than  the 
angels,  yet  his  hope  is  far  inferior  to  that  of  the  Christian. 
We  are  told  that  we  shall  see  God,  behold  "  the  King  in 
His  beauty."  The  Jewish  prophet  holds  out  no  hope  of  this 
blessed  vision.  The  righteous  shall  see  highest  orders  of 
angels,  and  all  the  hosts  of  heaven,  yea,  the  glory  of  God, 
the  light  in  which  He  dwells ;  but  Himself  no  eye  of 
man,  however  holy  and  blessed,  shall  behold.2 

The  scene  of  this  happiness  is  the  new  world  which 
God  shall  create  especially  for  His  true  servants.  And 
that  the  prophecies  of  the  glory  of  Jerusalem  may  be 
rightly  understood,  the  seer  is  taught  that  the  earthly 
city  may  be  destroyed  once  and  again,  but  it  shall  be 
renewed  in  glory,  and  receive  an  everlasting  crown 
(chap,  xxxii.).  "Dost  thou  remember,"  says  the  Lord, 
"  what  that  city  is  of  which  I  said,  '  I  have  graven  thee 

1  These  are  elsewhere  (chap,  xxi.)  called  "the  powers  that  stand 
before  God,"  and  seem  to  mean  the  highest  angels,  the  seven  men- 
tioned Tok  xii.  15  and  Rev.  viii.  2. 

2  So  in  the  Book  of  Enoch  xiv.  8.     2  Esdr.  vi.  64  (Fr.)  :  "  Primo 
vident  in  gaudio  multo  gloriam  Altissimi  qui  assumit  eas." 

THE  APOCALYPSE  OF  BAEUCH.          161 

upon  the  palm  of  my  hands  '  ? "  No  earthly  city  this, 
but  a  heavenly,  mystic  one,  prepared  before  the  world 
was  made,  shown  to  Adam  before  he  fell  in  Paradise, 
but  withdrawn,  as  Eden  itself,  after  he  had  sinned.1 
Abraham,  too,  beheld  it  when  he  kept  watch  between 
his  victims  slain  ;  and  to  Moses  it  was  revealed  on  Mount 
Sinai,  when  he  received  the  communication  touching  the 
Tabernacle  and  its  appurtenances.  Since  then  it  has 
been  kept  in  the  secret  place  of  God  till  the  time  for  its 
disclosure  should  arrive.2  This  glorious  city  shall  be 
the  abode  of  the  righteous.  But  the  seer,  unlike  St. 
John,  attempts  not  to  describe  its  splendours ;  no  revela- 
tion of  these  particulars  is  made  unto  him,  and  he  leaves 
it  in  its  beauty  a  wonder  and  a  mystery.  The  Paradise, 
in  which  he  locates  both  the  throne  of  God  and  the 
home  of  the  blessed,  is  not  the  place  in  the  other  world 
where  the  souls  of  the  just  await  the  day  of  judgment, 
which  was  its  usual  signification  among  the  Jews,  but 
heaven  itself,  and,  as  one  wtfuld  suppose,  the  so-called 
third  heaven.  St.  Paul,  in  the  account  of  his  own 
rapture  (2  Cor.  xii.),  seems  to  make  a  distinction  between 
Paradise  and  the  third  heaven,  speaking  of  being  on  one 
occasion  "  caught  up  even  to  the  third  heaven,"  and 
on  another,  "  being  caught  up  into  Paradise."  But  in 
this,  as  in  some  other  points  before  noticed,  Pseudo- 
Baruch  does  not  adhere  closely  to  the  received  opinion, 

1  In  2  Esdr.  iii.  6,  Paradise  is  said  to  have  been  created  before  the 

2  2  Esdr.  vii.  26  :    "  The  bride  (or  city)  shall  appear,  and  she 
coming  forth  shall  be  seen,  that  now  is  withdrawn  from  the  earth." 
xiii.  36  :  "  Zion  shall  come,  and  shall  be  showed  to  all  men,  being 
prepared  and  builded."     Comp.  Rev.  xxi.  2. 



but  follows  another  tradition,  or  takes  an  original 

With  regard  to  the  punishment  of  the  wicked,  the 
seer  holds  this  opinion.  The}7  shall  first  see  the  glory 
of  the  righteous,  and  then  shall  be  led  away  to  punish- 
ment,— their  home  shall  be  in  the  eternal  fire  (chap, 
xliv.).  Of  the  annihilation  of  the  condemned  other 
writers  have  spoken ; l  but  nothing  of  the  kind  is  found 
in  our  book.  Sinners  are  saicl,  indeed,  to  waste  away 
("  tabescere  "),  but  this  is  only  an  expression  to  characterise 
their  torment,  which  they  are  transfigured  to  endure.2 

Such  are  the  chief  points  of  interest  in  this  book; 
and  they  are  useful  in  many  ways,  but  chiefly  as  con- 
veying instruction  on  the  tenets  and  expectations  of  the 
Jews  about  the  period  of  the  first  Christian  century, 
and  exhibiting  the  contrast  between  real  and  spurious 


The  work  thus  named  has  a  special  interest  for 
Englishmen,  as  having  been  first  made  known  in  this 
country,  in  the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  century,  by 
the  celebrated  Grosseteste  or  Greathead,  Bishop  of 
Lincoln,  who,  with  the  aid  of  a  clerk  of  St.  Albans, 
translated  it  from  Greek  into  Latin.  It  had  been 

1  Pseudo  -  Clem.  Horn.  iii.  6  :  slvoti  yoip  ei$  del  ovx  en  ^vvstyrxi  ot 
ti$  rov  dii  x-otl  povw  datfi'/ieoi'jTs;  0$6v.     Thus  also,  Ascens.  Isa.  iv.  18. 

2  "  Fiet  enim  aspectus  eorum  qui  nunc  impie  agunt  pejor  quam 
est,  ut  sustineant  supplicium."  —  Chap.  li. 


brought  to  his  notice  by  one  John  de  Basingstokes, 
Archdeacon  of  Leicester,  who,  while  studying  at  Athens, 
had  lighted  upon  this  treatise,  and  thought  so  highly  of 
it  that  he  induced  the  bishop  to  obtain  a  copy  of  it 
from  Greece.  The  credulous  Matthew  Paris,  who  sup- 
plies these  particulars,  asserts  roundly  that  the  document 
formed  part  of  the  sacred  canon,  but  had  been  suppressed 
by  the  Jews  on  account  of  the  evident  prophecies  of 
Christ  contained  therein.1  This,  of  course,  is  a  mistake. 
What  is  certain  is,  that  it  was  well  known  in  the  early 
•Church,  was  honoured  and  quoted  by  early  Christian 
writers,  and  was  named  in  some  catalogues  of  sacred 
books.  In  the  synopsis  of  Sacred  Scripture  which  is 
found  among  the  writings  of  Athanasius  it  is  mentioned 
as  one  of  the  Apocrypha  in  conjunction  with  the  Book 
of  Enoch,  the  Assumption  of  Moses,  and  some  others  ; 
and  it  is  referred  to  in  the  Stichometria  of  Nicephorus 
of  Constantinople.  It  is  also  probably  named  in  the 
Acts  of  one  or  two  minor  Councils  held  in  Home  and 
Spain  in  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries.  But  there  is  no 
doubt  that  Tertullian  and  Origen  knew  and  quoted  the 
book.  Thus  the  former 2  writes :  "  For  to  my  mind 
Paul  was  promised  even  in  Genesis.  Among  the  tropes 
and  prophetical  benedictions  on  his  sons,  Jacob,  turning 

1  Matt.  Par.  Hist.  Anylor.,  quoted  by  Mr.   Sinker,  whose  most 
valuable  and  interesting  work  has  supplied  many  of  the  materials  of 
this  paper.     The  title  of  this   book  is  the  following :    Testamenta 
XII.  Patriarcharum :  ad  fidem  codicis  Cantabrigiensis  edita :  Accedunt 
Lectiones  cod.  Oxoniensis.     The  Testaments  of  the  XII.  Patriarchs :  An 
attempt  to  estimate  their  Historic  and  Dogmatic   Worth,   Cambridge 
1869,     Appendix,  containing  a  collation  of  the  Roman  and  Patmos 
MSS.,  and  Bibliographical  notes,  Cambridge  1879. 

2  Adv.  Marcionern,  v.  1. 


to  Benjamin,  said,  '  Benjamin,  a  ravening  wolf  in  the 
morning  shall  devour,  and  in  the  evening  shall  give 
victual.'  For  he  foresaw  that  from  the  tribe  of  Benjamin 
would  some  day  arise  Paul,  a  ravening  wolf  in  the  morn- 
ing devouring, — that  is,  at  first  laying  waste  the  Lord's 
flock,  as  a  persecutor  of  the  Church, — and  afterwards 
giving  victual  at  evening, — that  is,  as  time  declined 
feeding  the  sheep  of  Christ  as  the  Teacher  of  the  nations." 
This  is  evidently  a  reproduction  of  the  idea  of  a  passage 
in  the  Testaments,  where  Benjamin  thus  addresses  his 
children : l  "I  shall  no  longer  be  called  a  ravening 
wolf  on  account  of  your  ravages,  but  a  worker  of  the 
Lord,  distributing  food  to  them  that  work  what  is  good. 
And  one  shall  rise  up  from  my  seed  in  the  latter  times, 
beloved  of  the  Lord,  hearing  His  voice,  enlightening  with 
new  knowledge  all  the  Gentiles,  bursting  in  upon  Israel 
for  salvation  with  the  light  of  knowledge,  tearing  it 
away  from  it  like  a  wolf,  and  giving  it  to  the  synagogue 
of  the  Gentiles ;  and  until  the  consummation  of  the  ages 
shall  he  be  in  the  synagogue  of  the  Gentiles  and  among 
their  rulers  as  a  strain  of  music  in  the  mouth  of  all. 
And  he  shall  be  inscribed  in  the  holy  books,  both  his 
work  and  his  word,  and  he  shall  be  a  chosen  one  of  God 
for  ever ;  and  because  of  him  iny  father  Jacob  instructed 
me  saying,  He  shall  fill  up  that  which  lacketh  of  thy 
tribe."  Similarly  in  another  place  Tertullian  says : 2 
"  Paul,  from  a  persecutor  becoming  an  apostle,  who  first 
shed  the  blood  of  the  Church,  and  afterwards  changing 
his  sword  for  a  pen,  and  turning  his  falchion  into  a 
plough,  even  Benjamin,  a  ravening  wolf,  then  himself 
1  The  translation  is  Mr.  Sinker's.  ~  Scorpiace,  xiii. 


bringing  victual,  according  to  Jacob,  he  commendeth 
martyrdom  and  what  he  deems  desirable."  Origen  cites 
the  book  by  name.1  "  Nay,"  he  says,  "  but  in  a  certain 
little  book,  which  is  called  the  Testament  of  the  Twelve 
Patriarchs,  although  it  is  not  contained  in  the  canon,  we 
find  the  thought  that  by  individual  sinners  we  ought  to 
understand  individual  Satans."  This  idea  occurs  in  the 
Testament  of  Eeuben  (chaps,  ii.  and  iii.),  who  warns  his 
sons  that  all  sins  are  the  embodiment  of  the  seven  spirits 
of  evil  which  he  specifies.  There  is  possibly,  too,  an 
allusion  to  our  work  in  Jerome,2  who  writes :  "  And  if  so 
it  please  you,  you  may  read  the  fictitious  revelations  of 
all  the  patriarchs  and  prophets ;  and  when  you  have 
studied  them,  go  and  sing  in  the  women's  weaving  shops." 
It  is  possible  that  the  notion  of  Christ's  descent  from 
the  tribes  of  Levi  and  Judah,  found  first  in  Irenreus, 
may  have  been  derived  from  our  book,  where  it  occurs 
frequently.  The  passage  alluded  to  is  found  in  Iren 
Fragm.  xvii.  (ed.  Harvey,  ii.  487):  "From  them  Christ 
was  foreshadowed  and  acknowledged  and  born ;  for  in 
Joseph  He  was  foreshadowed;  from  Levi  and  Judah  He 
was  born  according  to  the  flesh  as  king  and  priest ;  and 
through  Simeon  He  was  acknowledged  in  the  temple.'* 
These  are  nearly  all  the  references  to  the  book  which 
occur.  For  many  centuries  it  fell  completely  out  of 
sight,  and,  indeed,  nothing  was  heard  of  it  till,  as 
mentioned  above,  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln  took  it  in  hand. 
But  the  Greek  text  did  not  profit  by  the  invention  of 
printing  in  its  early  stage,  nor  was  it  till  quite  the  end 
of  the  seventeenth  century  that  it  was  published  in  an 
1  Horn,  in  Josuam,  xv.  6.  2  Adv.  Vic/Hani,  c.  vi. 


available  form.  In  1698  Grabe  printed  the  Greek  text 
entire  in  his  Spicilegium  Patrum  et  Hcerdicorum  from  a 
MS.  left  to  the  University  Library  of  Cambridge  by 
Archbishop  Parker,  and  containing  that  prelate's  auto- 
graph. This  is  probably  the  original  from  which 
Grosseteste's  version  was  made.  It  was  reprinted  by 
Fabricius  in  his  Codex  Pseudepigraplius,  and  by  Gallandi 
in  the  first  volume  of  the  Bibliotluca  Veterum  Patrum, 
arid  later  by  Migne  in  his  Patrologia  Grceca.  There  is 
only  one  other  Greek  MS.  of  the  Testaments  existing  in 
England,  and  that  is  one  in  the  Bodleian  Library  at 
Oxford — a  paper  quarto  of  the  fourteenth  century, 
presented  to  the  University  by  its  then  Chancellor,  the 
Earl  of  Pembroke,  in  1629.  Quite  lately  two  other 
MSS.  have  been  examined,  one  in  the  Vatican  Library,  of 
the  thirteenth  century,  and  one  in  a  monastery  at  Pat- 
mos,  belonging  to  the  sixteenth  century,  which  has  been 
noticed  by  Tischendorf.1  A  careful  collation  of  these 
MSS.,  and  of  some  transcripts  made  from  them,  has  been 
published  by  the  Eev.  Eobert  Sinker,  and  in  his  hands 
the  text  has  assumed  as  great  an  accuracy  as  is  likely  to 
be  attained  till  other  aids  are  supplied  from  continental 
sources.  Of  versions,  especially  in  the  Latin  language, 
there  are  numerous  specimens.  Mr.  Sinker  mentions  no 
less  than  forty  MSS.  of  the  Latin  version,  and  numerous 
published  editions  dating  from  1510-1520.  The  work 
has  been  translated  into  most  modern  languages,  in- 
cluding French,  German,  Dutch,  Icelandic,  etc.  The  first 
English  version  was  printed  by  John  Daye  in  1577, 
long  before  the  Greek  text  was  published,  the  earliest 
1  Aus  dem  heiligen  Lande,  p.  341. 


Latin  translation  having  appeared  some  sixty  years 
previously.  This  English  edition  was  the  work  of  A.  G., 
the  initials  probably  of  Arthur  Golding,  and  was  con- 
tinually reproduced  in  subsequent  years.  Another 
version,  rendered  from  the  text  of  Grabe  and  Fabricius, 
was  put  forth  by  W.  Whitson  in  his  Collection  of 
Authentical  Records,  belonging  to  the  0.  and  N.  Testa- 
ments, 1727.  Of  late  years  a  new  version  has  appeared 
in  the  second  volume  of  Clark's  Antc-Niccne  Christian 
Library.  This  translation  is  the  work  of  Mr.  Sinker. 

The  language  of  the  original  work  was  certainly 
Greek ;  that  is,  the  writing  which  we  now  possess  is 
probably  that  which  came  from  the  hand  of  the  author. 
It  is  at  the  same  time  quite  possible  that  a  Hebrew 
document  may  have  existed  on  which  the  present  was 
more  or  less  based.  But  of  this  no  trace  has  ever  been 
found ;  nor  does  the  present  writing  bear  any  of  the 
characteristics  of  a  version,  though  it  is  thoroughly  im- 
pregnated with  Hebrew  thought.  In  it  we  find  an 
employment  of  the  Septuagint :  and  there  are  certain 
paronomasias  which  could  not  have  been  derived  from  a 
Hebrew  original,  and  many  expressions  which  appertain 
to  Greek  philosophy,  and  have  no  equivalent  in  the 
Hebrew.  We  may  conclude  that  the  work  as  we  have  it 
is  essentially  Greek,  and  can  be  traced  to  no  other  source. 

Having  thus  sketched  the  literary  history  of  the 
Testaments,  we  may  next  glance  at  its  contents,  and  shall 
then  be  able  to  consider  its  origin  and  date,  and  to 
mention  some  of  the  features  most  noteworthy  in  points 
of  history  and  doctrine.  The  name  indicates  the  nature 
of  the  treatise.  The  twelve  sons  of  Jacob  herein  give 


their  final  instructions  to  their  children.  With  the 
account  more  or  less  extended  of  their  lives,  wherein  are 
often  contained  facts  not  found  in  the  canonical  Scrip- 
tures, they  combine  moral  injunctions  for  the  guidance  of 
their  descendants,  forecasts  of  future  backslidings,  and 
revelations  concerning  the  coming  of  Messiah's  kingdom, 
which  shall  triumph  over  sin,  and  bring  universal  peace 
and  happiness.  Thus  in  each  section  three  elements  are 
distinguishable,  Haggadean  history,  appropriate  exhorta- 
tions, and  predictions  of  the  future.  Each  Testament  is 
supposed  to  embrace  some  chief  topic,  more  or  less 
apposite  to  the  particular  patriarch's  life  and  character. 
Thus  that  of  Eeuben  is  concerning  Thoughts,  Simeon  con- 
cerning Envy,  Levi  concerning  Priesthood  and  Arrogance, 
and  so  on,  through  the  whole  twelve.  But  let  us  take 
the  sections  in  the  order  in  which  they  occur,  and  give 
a  short  statement  of  the  subjects  contained  in  each 
Testament.  Further  details  will  be  presented  when  we 
come  to  analyse  these  contents. 


Eeuben,  before  he  died  in  the  125th  year  of  his  life, 
two  years  after  Joseph's  death,  gathering  his  children 
and  grandchildren  around  him,  gives  his  last  instructions. 
He  confesses  his  great  sin,  and  urges  them  to  avoid  his 
error,  for  which  he  had  been  sorely  punished.  Man  has 
seven  spirits  given  him  wherewith  to  carry  on  his  work 
in  the  world,  viz.  life,  sight,  hearing,  smell,  taste,  speech, 
reproduction,  and  an  eighth,  sleep.  With  these  Beliar 
(Satan)  has  intermingled  seven  spirits  of  error,  which  are 


these :  fornication,  greediness,  fighting,  fraud,  arrogance, 
lying,  injustice,  and  sleep,  which  belongs  to  both  classes. 
In  forcible  language  the  patriarch  denounces  fornication. 
Women  from  the  first  have  been  seducers  ;  they  caused 
the  fall  of  the  Watchers  (eyptfyopoi,)  before  the  Flood ;  it 
behoves  men  to  be  wary  in  their  converse  with  them. 
He  ends  by  commanding  his  children  to  give  heed  to  Levi, 
to  whom  with  Judah  is  entrusted  the  chieftainship.  For 
Levi  shall  know  the  law  of  the  Lord,  and  shall  judge  Israel 
and  offer  sacrifices,  until  the  consummation  of  the  times 
of  Christ  the  High  Priest  whom  the  Lord  hath  declared. 


He  was  fierce  and  unfeeling,  and  the  most  inimical  to 
Joseph  of  all  the  brethren ;  but  Joseph  bore  no  malice. 
His  example  should  be  followed,  and  brotherly  love 
cherished.  The  writing  of  Enoch  foretold  that  the 
Simeonites  should  corrupt  themselves,  and  attempt  to 
injure  Levi ;  but  they  shall  not  prevail.  If  they  repent, 
they  shall  flourish  and  blossom  like  the  rose.  The 
Canaanites,  Philistines  (KaTTTraSo/ce?),  and  Hittites  shall 
perish  ;  peace  shall  be  established,  Shem  shall  be  glorified, 
because  Messiah  shall  come.  "  Obey,  Levi ! "  he  con- 
cluded, "  and  in  Judah  ye  shall  be  redeemed ;  for  from 
these  two  tribes  salvation  shall  arise." 


This  is  the  most  important  of  all  the  Testaments, 
professing  to  tell  all  that  shall  happen  to  the  tribe 


till  the  day  of  judgment.  Other  patriarchs  indulge 
freely  in  moral  and  religious  warnings ;  here  the 
apocalyptic  element  is  much  more  conspicuous.  Levi 
narrates  how  that  the  Lord  showed  him  two  visions  ; 
first  of  the  heavens,  seven  in  number,  which  he  was 
privileged  to  see,  because  he  was  appointed  to  minister  in 
sacred  things,  and  to  announce  the  coming  of  Him  who 
was  to  redeem  Israel.  It  was  at  this  time  that  he  was 
enjoined  to  take  vengeance  on  the  Shechemites.  In  the 
second  vision  he  is  invested  by  seven  angels  with  the 
insignia  of  the  priesthood.  The  first  angel  presents  him 
with  the  holy  oil  and  the  rod  of  judgment;  the  second 
washed  him  with  pure  water,  and  gave  him  bread  and 
wine,  the  holy  of  holies,  and  clothed  him  in  glorious 
robes ;  the  third  indued  him  with  a  linen  ephod ;  the 
fourth  with  a  purple  girdle ;  the  fifth  gave  him  an  olive 
branch ;  the  sixth  put  a  crown  on  his  head ;  the  seventh 
gave  him  a  diadem  and  incense.  And  it  was  announced 
that  his  seed  should  be  divided  into  three  powers,  which 
are  obscurely  explained.  Jacob,  knowing  by  revelation 
the  office  of  Levi,  taught  him  much  lore  concerning 
sacrifice,  tithe,  first-fruits,  etc.  He  foretells  the  rejection 
of  the  Messiah,  and  the  consequent  dispersion  of  the 
nation.  Levi  then  sketches  his  own  family  history, 
mentioning  among  other  facts  that  Amram  married  his 
daughter  Jochabed.  He  deduces  from  the  prophecy  of 
Enoch  that  the  active  iniquity  of  the  people  will  last 
seventy  weeks,  and  their  punishment  shall  continue 
"  until  He  Himself  shall  again  visit  you,  and  pitying, 
shall  receive  you  in  faith  and  water." 



He  was  keen  and  bold  when  young,  loving  and 
obedient  to  his  parents,  and  won  the  favour  of  the  Lord. 
His  heroic  deeds  are  recounted,  many  details  being  given 
which  are  not  found  in  Scripture.  He  urges  his  children 
to  avoid  drunkenness  and  uncleanness,  sins  of  which  he 
had  been  guilty  in  the  matter  of  Tamar ;  and  covetous- 
ness,  which  is  pernicious.  "  Love  ye  Levi,"  he  enjoins, 
"  that  ye  may  live  long.  To  me  the  Lord  hath  given 
the  kingdom,  and  to  him  the  priesthood;  and  He  hath 
subjected  the  kingdom  to  the  priesthood.  On  me  He 
bestowed  things  of  earth,  on  him  things  of  heaven.  For 
as  the  heaven  is  above  the  earth,  so  is  the  priesthood 
above  every  earthly  kingdom.  And  the  Lord  hath 
chosen  him  above  thee  to  come  near  unto  Himself,  and 
to  eat  of  His  table  and  the  first-fruits  of  the  dainties  of 
the  children  of  Israel."  He  predicts  wars  and  com- 
motions which  shall  last  till  Messiah  comes.  After  this 
the  patriarchs  shall  rise  again,  and  they  that  suffered  on 
earth  shall  be  recompensed  by  a  happy  life. 


He  begins  by  narrating  the  story  of  the  mandrakes, 
amplifying  the  briefer  account  of  Gen.  xxx.,  and  then 
sketches  his  own  character  and  life.  He  was  a  husband- 
man, simple,  quiet,  industrious,  faithful,  scrupulous  in 
payment  of  tithes  and  offerings.  He  enjoins  his  sons  to 
practise  agriculture  and  to  be  simple  in  their  lives,  so 


that     Beliar     may    not    seduce    them    to     luxury    and 


This  patriarch  asserts  that  he  has  no  sin  to  recall  but 
that  against  his  father  when  he  connived  with  his  brethren 
in  concealing  from  him  the  fate  of  Joseph,  though  he 
grieved  bitterly  for  it.  He  gives  a  long  account  of  the 
transaction,  and  as  a  lesson  from  this  incident,  urges  his 
sons  to  be  kind  and  merciful,  not  only  to  brethren,  but 
even  to  irrational  animals,  remembering  that  as  a  man 
deals  with  his  neighbours,  so  the  Lord  will  deal  with 
him.  He  was  the  first  to  make  a  boat  and  go  a-fishing, 
and  with  the  produce  to  feed  the  poor.  He  admonishes 
concerning  the  duty  of  forgiveness  of  injuries,  and  love 
and  unity  ;  and  he  concludes  by  predicting  the  evils 
which  dissension  and  unbelief  will  bring  upon  them,  and 
which  will  only  be  terminated  when  the  Lord,  the  light 
of  righteousness,  shall  Himself  appear  among  them,  and 
he,  Zebulon,  should  some  day  rise  again. 


He  had  tried  all  his  life  long  to  avoid  anger  and 
lying,  and  to  please  God  ;  but  was  guilty  of  envy  and 
malice  in  the  case  of  Joseph.  Let  his  sons  beware  of 
these  sins,  or  they  will  bring  on  themselves  destruction. 
In  the  last  days,  he  knows  that  they  will  oppose  Levi 
and  Judah,  and  be  grievously  punished  for  it.  But  a 
time  will  come  when  from  these  tribes  the  salvation  of 


the  Lord  will  arise,  and  wage  victorious  war  against 
Beliar ;  and  the  saints  shall  rest  in  Eden,  and  the 
righteous  shall  rejoice  in  the  new  Jerusalem,  which  shall 
be  unto  the  glory  of  God  for  ever  and  ever  !  "  Therefore 
draw  ye  nigh  unto  God  and  to  the  angel  that  intercedeth 
for  you  (TOO  Trapairovfjuevw  fyta?),  for  He  is  the  Mediator 
between  God  and  man  for  the  peace  of  Israel." 


He  was  the  son  of  Bilhah,  daughter  of  Eutheus, 
brother  of  Deborah,  Eebecca's  nurse.  Eutheus  himself 
was  a  Chaldean  of  Abraham's  kindred,  a  worshipper  of 
God,  who  had  been  carried  away  as  a  captive  and  bought 
by  Laban.  Naphtali,  being  remarkably  active,  was  his 
father's  messenger.  When  forty  years  old  he  saw  a 
vision  on  the  Mount  of  Olives,  towards  the  east  of 
Jerusalem.  The  sun  and  moon  stood  still ;  Isaac  called 
his  sons  to  run  and  seize  them ;  Levi  laid  hold  of  the 
sun,  Judah  of  the  moon,  and  both  were  raised  aloft  with 
them.  Levi  received  twelve  palm  branches,  Judah  had 
twelve  rays  beneath  his  feet.  Then  appeared  a  bull 
with  two  horns,  and  on  its  back  the  wings  of  an  eagle. 
All  tried  to  seize  it,  but  Joseph  alone  was  successful, 
and  was  carried  up  on  high.  And  the  holy  writing 
came  in  sight  which  spake  of  the  captivity  of  Israel. 
In  a  second  vision  Naphtali  sees  Jacob  and  his  sons 
standing  by  the  Sea  of  Jamnia  ;  and,  lo  !  a  ship  appeared 
full  of  dried  flesh,  inscribed  The  Ship  of  Jacob,  but  with- 
out crew  or  pilot.  Jacob  and  his  sons  embark,  a  tempest 
arises  and  carries  away  the  father;  the  ship  is  almost 


engulphed,  and  finally  dashed  to  pieces.  Levi  prays, 
and  the  twelve  are  saved  on  pieces  of  wreck,  and,  reach- 
ing home,  find  their  father  safe  and  sound.  The  usual 
prediction  concerning  the  punishment  of  sinners  and  the 
advent  of  Messiah  closes  the  Testament. 


He  boasts  of  his  courage  in  defending  the  flocks  from 
wild  beasts,  and  tells  how  he  was  incensed  with  Joseph 
for  repeating  to  his  father  the  evil  deeds  of  the  brethren, 
and  desired  his  death.  He  and  Juclah  sold  him  for 
thirty  pieces  of  gold,  but  kept  ten  for  themselves,  con- 
cealing the  real  amount  received.  He  confesses  his 
sorrow  for  this  sin,  and  urges  his  children  to  beware  of 
hatred  and  covetousness,  on  which  subjects  he  dilates  at 
considerable  length.  "  For,"  he  says,  "  as  love  wishes 
even  to  revive  the  dead,  and  to  recall  those  who  are 
sentenced  to  death ;  so  hatred  would  like  to  slay  the 
living,  and  desires  the  destruction  even  of  those  who 
have  but  little  erred.  The  spirit  of  hatred  by  reason  of 
faintheartedness  (o\iryo"fyv%ia<;,  ?  hastiness  of  spirit)  co- 
operateth  with  Satan  in  all  things  unto  the  death  of 
men ;  but  the  spirit  of  love  co-operateth  with  the  law  of 
God  unto  men's  salvation."  As  the  other  patriarchs,  he 
enjoins  his  sons  to  honour  Judah  and  Levi,  because  from 
them  the  Lord  shall  raise  up  a  Saviour  for  Israel. 


He  begins  in  much  the  same  way  as  the  DidacJU : 
"  Two  ways  hath  God  given  to  the  sons  of  men ;  "  and 


he  proceeds  in  words  which  recall  the  dictum  of  Ben- 
Sira : l  "  All  things  are  two,  one  over  against  the  other. 
There  are  two  ways,  of  good  and  evil,  and  withal  two 
counsels  in  our  breasts  distinguishing  these  paths."  He 
admonishes  his  sons  to  be  single-minded,  and  not  to 
wear  two  faces ;  and  he  gives  various  examples  of 
double  -  mindedness,  and  shows  how  hateful  such  a 
character  is  in  God's  eyes.  He  terminates  his  advice 
by  uttering  the  warnings  and  predictions  in  the  same 
strain  as  his  predecessors. 


He  recounts  his  life,  summing  it  up  at  first  almost 
in  the  words  of  the  Gospel  (Matt,  xxv.) :  "  I  was  an 
hungered,"  etc.,  and  then  narrating  the  circumstances 
twice  over  at  much  length,  with  the  addition  of  many 
legendary  particulars.  "  See,  then,  my  children,"  he 
continues,  "  how  much  may  be  effected  by  patience  and 
prayer  with  fasting  ;  for  God  loveth  sobriety,  and  always 
helpeth  the  continent  and  self-controlling."  He  tells  of 
a  vision  which  he  saw.  There  arose  in  Judah  a  virgin, 
clad  in  a  linen  robe,  and  from  her  came  forth  a  lamb 
unspotted,  and  on  his  left  there  was,  as  it  were,  a  lion. 
Against  him  all  the  beasts  of  the  earth  contended,  but 
prevailed  nothing ;  and  the  lamb  trode  them  under  foot, 
to  the  great  joy  of  angels  and  men.  "  Do  ye,  my  sons, 
observe  the  commandments  of  the  Lord,  and  honour 
Judah  and  Levi,  for  from  out  of  them  shall  arise  the 

1  Ecclus.  xlii.  24 :  "  All  things  are  double,  one  against  another, 
and  He  hath  made  nothing  imperfect." 


Lamb   of    God,   by   grace    saving    all    the    nations    and 


Benjamin  tells  that  his  mother  liachel  was  twelve 
years  barren,  and  then,  fasting  and  praying  for  twelve 
days,  she  conceived,  and  in  due  time  bore  him ;  and  he 
was  therefore  called  Benjamin,  "  son  of  days." x  He 
gives  much  good  advice  concerning  the  direction  of  the 
thoughts,  and  simplicity  of  heart,  and  rectitude  of 
conduct ;  in  the  course  of  his  admonition  he  recounts 
this  prophecy  of  Jacob :  "  In  thee  shall  be  fulfilled  the 
prophecy  of  heaven  touching  the  Lamb  of  God  and  the 
Saviour  of  the  world ;  for  He,  the  undefiled  (a'^coyito?) 
shall  be  delivered  up  in  behalf  of  sinners ;  and  He,  the 
sinless  (ava^dpT^ro^}  shall  die  for  the  impious,  by  the 
blood  of  the  covenant,  for  the  salvation  of  Gentiles  and 
Israel,  and  shall  destroy  Beliar  and  his  servants."  There 
is  much  that  is  beautiful  and  edifying  in  this  Testament. 
Here  is  a  thought  with  which  we  are  all  familiar, 
though  we  scarcely  expected  to  meet  with  it  here : 
"  As  the  sun,  shining  on  what  is  filthy  and  noxious, 
is  not  defiled  thereby,  but  rather  purifies  it  and  removes 
its  ill  savour ;  so  the  pure  mind,  mingling  amid  the 
pollutions  of  earth,  dwelleth  safely  there  and  suffers  no 

1  The  name  is  usually  explained  as  "  Son  of  my  right  hand,"  i.e.  of 
good  fortune.  The  interpretation  given  in  our  text  is  that  of  the 
Samaritan  copy,  which  has  a  different  reading  from  the  Masoretic. 
The  expression  would  probably  refer  to  his  being  born  in  Jacob's 
old  age. 


Such,  in  brief,  are  the  contents  of  our  book.  "We 
must  glance  at  the  writer  or  writers,  and  attempt  to 
estimate  the  date  of  the  production. 

Of  course,  in  this,  as  in  all  such  literature,  the 
author's  personality  is  veiled  and  unknown.  But  we 
can  form  an  estimate  of  his  views,  and  see  to  what  sect 
or  party  he  belonged.  And  here  we  must  at  once 
protest  against  the  free  use  made  by  some  critics  of  the 
theory  of  interpolation.1  These  scientists  form  certain 
opinions  concerning  the  age,  author,  objects,  tendencies 
of  a  work;  and  when  any  paragraph  or  expression 
coincides  not  with  their  conception,  they  arbitrarily  put 
it  aside  as  a  later  addition  inserted  by  some  unscrupulous 
scribe  or  editor.  If  the  criminated  passage  were  evidently 
foisted  into  the  original  text  without  any  connection 
with  the  context,  if  it  were  plainly  the  work  of  some 
clumsy  glosser,  if  it  differed  from  the  style  of  the  rest  of 
the  document  and  contained  language  or  ideas  not  found 
elsewhere,  the  theory  of  interpolation  becomes  reasonable. 
But  where,  as  in  the  present  case,  none  of  these  sup- 
positions can  be  verified,  where  the  disputed  paragraphs 
are  in  full  keeping  and  tone  with  the  rest  of  the  work, 
and  there  is  no  substantial  variation  in  MSS.  or  versions, 

1  If  any  one  wishes  to  see  this  theory  wantonly  and  largely 
developed,  let  him  read  Die  Testamente  der  XII.  Patriarchen  unter- 
sucht  von  L.  F.  Schnapp  (Halle  1884).  This  writer  divides  the  greater 
part  of  the  book  between  a  Christian  and  a  Jewish  interpolator, 
relying  entirely  upon  internal  evidence  for  his  conclusions.  He 
regards  as  genuine  only  those  parts  of  each  Testament  which 
contain  biographical  details  and  exhortations  founded  thereon  ;  all 
predictions,  visions,  etc.,  he  determines  to  be  later  interpolations. 



the  notion  of  unauthorised  additions  falls  to  the  ground, 
and  we  may  take  the  text  as  genuine  without  further 
disquieting  ourselves  about  baseless  criticism.  At  the 
same  time  it  is,  of  course,  possible,  and,  indeed,  probable, 
that  the  work  would  exhibit  traces  of  editing  and 
revision,  and  that  words  or  passages  might  have  been 
inserted  in  the  course  of  time  by  scribes  or  redactors. 
But  these  additions,  if  they  do  exist,  would  not  affect 
the  general  tone  of  the  book,  and  we  found  our  view  on 
this,  and  not  upon  isolated  expressions.  Now  we  gather 
from  a  careful  perusal  of  the  document  that  the  writer 
was  a  Jewish  Christian,  of  views  not  in  all  respects 
orthodox,  addressing  his  own  countrymen.  To  none 
other  would  the  utterances  of  the  patriarchs  have  been 
of  any  value  or  weight ;  to  none  other  would  the  future 
destiny  of  Israel  have  been  of  any  importance.  And 
the  object  which  he  had  in  view  was  the  conversion  of 
his  auditors  to  Christianity.  He  desires  to  show  how 
the  old  Law  led  up  to  this  consummation,  and  how  the 
evil  times  upon  which  his  contemporaries  had  fallen 
were  a  discipline  to  drive  them  to  acknowledge  the  true 
Messiah.  He  holds  that  the  New  Testament  was  always 
hidden  in  the  old  covenant,  and  existed  in  germ  in  the 
patriarchal  dispensation,  so  that  Christianity  is  merely 
a  continuation  and  development  of  the  more  ancient 

There  were,  as  is  well  known,  two  parties  in  the 
primitive  Church  who  held  opposite  views  upon  the  sub- 
ject of  the  duty  of  Christians  with  respect  to  the  Jewish 
ceremonial  law.  While  one  would  impose  this  routine 
on  all  Gentile  converts  as  necessary  to  salvation,  thus 


narrowing  the  merits  of  Christ's  sacrifice  and  ignoring 
the  new  covenant,  the  other  held  that  the  Mosaic  law 
was  not  of  eternal  obligation,  and  that  Gentile  converts 
must  not  be  compelled  to  observe  it.  The  former 
developed  into  Ebionites,  the  latter  into  Nazarenes.  Of 
the  heretical  tendencies  of  the  Ebionites  there  can  be 
no  question ;  not  only  on  the  question  of  circumcision 
did  they  separate  from  the  orthodox  as  represented  by  St. 
Paul,  but  more  especially  in  regard  to  the  person  and 
nature  of  Christ.  The  Nazarenes,  on  the  other  hand, 
accepting  and  recognising  the  Pauline  view  of  the  duty 
of  Gentile  converts,  and  seeking  to  be  themselves  alto- 
gether Christians  while  retaining  their  own  nationality, 
had  a  very  imperfect  conception  of  the  eternal  generation 
of  Christ,  dating  the  hypostasis  of  the  Divine  nature  in 
Him  either  from  His  birth  or  His  baptism.  To  this 
sect  our  author  seems  to  have  belonged,  for  in  his 
utterances  we  can  trace  the  opinions  which  have  been 
mentioned,  erroneous  tenets  on  the  nature  of  Christ, 
generous  appreciation  of  the  great  Apostle  of  the  Gentiles, 
faithful  adherence  to  the  old  ritual,  and  liberal  views 
with  regard  to  converts  from  heathendom.  It  has  been 
also  remarked  that  there  is  much  in  the  ethics  of  the 
book  which  corresponds  with  the  known  tenets  of  the 
Nazarenes.  Thus  it  advocates  voluntary  fasting,  abstin- 
ence from  flesh  and  wine,  not  only  in  order  to  avoid 
temptation,  but  also  as  an  atonement  for  past  excesses ; 
it  enjoins  peaceableness,  kindness  to  men  and  animals, 
benevolence,  compassion,  the  avoidance  of  female  seduc- 
tions ;  it  inveighs  against  covetousness,  and  sets  a  high 
value  on  poverty.  All  these  points  seem  to  suit  the 


modified  asceticism  of  the  Nazarenes.  It  is  asserted 
that  no  one  author  could  have  enunciated  the  views 
which  are  found  in  our  book.  No  Jewish  Christian, 
it  is  said,  could  ever  have  characterised  the  tribes  of 
Levi  and  Judah  as  those  which  were  to  guide  Israel,  or 
exhorted  his  countrymen  to  submit  to  their  authority ; 
while  it  is  certain  that  official  Judaism,  represented  by 
those  tribes,  was  most  active  in  rejecting  the  gospel. 
To  this  it  may  be  answered  that  the  author  is  thinking 
of  Levi  and  Judah  in  their  ideal  character,  not  as 
they  had  exhibited  themselves  during  later  events. 
Christ  as  Priest,  Christ  as  King,  takes  His  descent  from 
the  two ;  and  it  is  the  truth  which  this  descent  teaches 
that  the  writer  wishes  to  enforce. 

Concerning  the  date  when  the  book  was  written,  we 
have  certain  facts  to  guide  us.  Being  quoted  by  Tertul- 
lian  and  Origen,  it  must  have  been  extant  in  the  second 
century  A.D.  To  the  same  conclusion  we  are  led  by  the 
writer's  evident  acquaintance  with  the  Book  of  Enoch,  a 
great  part  of  which,  as  we  have  determined  in  our  account 
of  that  production,  was  probably  composed  in  the  age  of 
John  Hyrcanus,  about  110  B.C.  In  the  Testaments  we 
find  this  work  continually  alluded  to  under  the  titles  of 
"  the  writing  (<ypa<f)tf)  of  Enoch ;  "  "  the  book,  books,  or 
words  of  Enoch  the  Eighteous,"  "the  Scripture  of  the 
law  of  Enoch,"  and  so  forth ;  and  there  are  many  expres- 
sions borrowed,  and  facts  employed,  without  special 
acknowledgment.  It  is  true  that  most  of  these  citations 
are  not  now  found  in  the  book  as  it  has  come  into  our 
hands ;  but  that  this  work  has  been  sadly  mutilated,  and 
originally  contained  much  material  no  longer  existing,  is 


certain;  and  many  of  the  passages  which  cannot  be 
traced  are  probably  rather  appeals  to  the  general  tone 
and  scope  of  the  prophecy  than  actual  quotations.  But 
there  are  other  criteria  by  which  to  judge  of  the  age  of 
our  work.  In  it  reference  is  made  to  the  destruction 
of  Jerusalem  and  the  temple,1  it  was  therefore  written 
after  A.D.  70.  Also,  according  to  the  words  of  Benjamin 
(chap,  xi.),  the  writings  of  the  New  Testament,  especially 
the  Acts  and  the  Epistles  of  St.  Paul,  had  been  collected 
into  a  volume.  At  the  same  time,  the  Jewish  priest- 
hood is  spoken  of  as  if  still  existing,  which  could  not 
have  been  the  case  after  Hadrian's  demolition  of  Jeru- 
salem in  punishment  of  the  revolt  of  Bar-Cocheba, 
A.D.  135.  We  have  therefore  these  limits  between 
which  our  book  could  have  been  produced,  A.D.  70-130  ; 
and  we  shall  not  be  far  wrong  if  we  assign  it  to  the 
end  of  the  first  or  the  earliest  portion  of  the  second 
Christian  century. 

We  have  now  to  notice  some  points  of  interest  which 
are  found  in  our  book  touching  on  history,  Christology, 
and  doctrinal,  critical,  and  ethical  questions.  And  first, 
let  us  look  to  the  historical  element.  Here,  as  in  the 
Book  of  Jubilees,  and  generally  in  Haggadistic  litera- 
ture, we  meet  with  additions  to,  or  amplifications  of  facts 
recorded  in  the  Old  Testament,  some  doubtless  derived 
from  tradition  or  from  documents  no  longer  extant, 
others  which  are  owed  to  the  inventive  faculty  of  the 
writer.  It  is  almost  impossible  in  most  cases  to  say 
where  truth  ends  and  fiction  steps  in ;  the  probability  is 
that  generally  there  is  some  ground  for  the  detail  added, 
1  Levi  xv. ;  Dan  v. 


and  that  the  author  is  dealing  with  material  ready  to  his 
hand.  In  his  chronology,  and  in  no  few  of  his  legends, 
he  is  indebted  to  the  Book  of  Jubilees  and  the  Book 
of  Enoch ;  many  of  his  statements  have  been  repeated 
in  the  Targum,  the  Midrashhn,  and  Josephus,  being 
obtained  by  them  from  independent  sources.  This  is 
a  further  argument  for  the  authenticity  of  our  history. 

As  additions  to  the  Biblical  record,  we  may  note  the 
following.  The  treacherous  attack  on  the  Shechemites 
at  the  hands  of  Simeon  and  Levi  is  justified  by  the 
violent  conduct  of  these  Canaanites  in  former  time,  when 
they  persecuted  Abraham,  plundered  his  flocks,  and  even 
attempted  to  outrage  Sarah ; l  and  by  a  special  com- 
munication from  heaven,  which  directed  vengeance  to 
be  taken  upon  them.  During  Jacob's  sojourn  at  Hebron 
he  waged  successful  war  with  the  Canaanites,  Judah 
taking  the  foremost  place,  and  performing  prodigies  of 
valour,  his  acts  being  related  at  some  length.2  Likewise 
many  particulars  are  added  in  connection  with  Judah's 
marriage  with  the  Hamite  Shuah,  and  the  episode  with 
his  daughter-in-law  Tamar.  Esau,  who  at  first  had 
peaceable  relations  with  his  brother,  after  an  interval 
of  eighteen  years  came  against  him  with  a  large  force ; 
but  Jacob  slew  him ;  and  his  sons  attacked  his  chief 
city,  and  reduced  the  Edomites  to  tribute.  Joseph's 
greatest  enemy  among  his  brethren  was  Simeon,  who 
quarrelled  with  Judah  for  sparing  his  life ;  and  his 
envy  was  punished  by  the  paralysis  of  his  right  hand, 

1  Levi  v.  and  vi. 

*  Judah  iii.     There  is  a  similar  account  in  the  Book  of  Jubilees 


which  was  only  healed  on  his  repentance  and  prayers.1 
Zebulun  tells  us  that  he  felt  deeply  for  Joseph  but  feared 
his  brothers  too  much  to  attempt  his  deliverance,  though 
he  refused  to  share  in  the  price  of  their  crime.  The  evil 
report  which  Joseph  brought  to  his  father  concerning  the 
sons  of  Bilhah  and  Zilpah  referred  to  their  killing  the 
best  of  the  flock  and  eating  them.2  The  story  of 
Joseph's  sojourn  in  Egypt  is  related  at  considerable 
length,  the  account  being  apparently  derived  from  two 
distinct  documents,  not  worked  together  into  one  nar- 
rative. The  youth  concealed  his  identity,  pretending  to 
1)6  a  slave;  but  the  Ishmaelites,  who  had  bought  him, 
were  not  content  with  this  account  of  himself,  and  think- 
ing that  he  was  the  son  of  some  great  personage,  detained 
him  in  the  house  of  their  agent  till  they  should  determine 
what  should  be  done  with  him.  While  he  was  thus 
placed,  Potiphar's  wife  happened  to  see  him,  and  induced 
her  husband  to  interfere  in  his  behalf,  and  in  the  end 
purchased  him  as  a  slave,  Joseph  all  the  time  quietly  sub- 
mitting to  be  thus  treated  that  he  might  not  bring  his 
brethren  to  shame.  Potiphar,  who  is  called  apxifidyeipos, 
chief  cook,  entrusts  his  whole  establishment  to  him,  and 
greatly  prospers.  Then  follows  a  detailed  account  of  the 
seduction  employed  by  his  shameless  mistress,  and  his 
chaste  resistance  to  her  words,  caresses,  and  love  potions. 
His  wife  Asenath,  who  brought  him  an  enormous  fortune 
as  her  dower,  belonged  to  the  same  family  as  Potiphar.3 

1  Simeon  ii.  2  Gad  i. ;  Gen.  xxxvii.  2. 

3  With  the  view  of  saving  Joseph  from  the  imputation  that  he 
intermarried  with  an  alien  race,  the  -Targum,  Ps.  Jon.  on  Gen. 
xli.  45,  makes  Asenath  the  daughter  of  Dinah  by  Shechem.  Sinker, 
p.  77. 


It  is  especially  noted  that  all  the  patriarchs  were 
buried  in  the  cave  of  Machpelah,  the  bodies  of  many  of 
them  being  previously  placed  in  coffins.  The  trans- 
mission of  these  bodies  to  Hebron  was  conducted  with 
much  secrecy,  as  the  Egyptians  kept  careful  watch  over 
the  corpse  of  Joseph,  it  having  been  predicted  that  the 
removal  of  his  bones  would  be  accompanied  with  signal 
plagues  on  the  land  and  people.  The  opportunity  for 
the  undisturbed  conveyance  of  the  patriarch's  remains 
to  Canaan  was  afforded  by  the  attention  of  the  natives 
being  occupied  by  certain  warlike  operations  in  which 
they  were  engaged. 

Such  are  the  chief  additions  to  the  Biblical  narrative 
found  in  our  book.  Of  the  elaborate  chronological 
details  we  cannot  speak  at  length.  These  regard  generally 
the  dates  of  the  births  of  the  several  patriarchs  and  the 
chief  events  in  their  lives ;  they  are  based  almost  wholly 
on  the  Book  of  Jubilees,  and  differ  scarcely  in  any  parti- 
culars from  the  statements  in  that  work,  though  they 
give  some  few  facts  not  found  therein,  e.g.  the  marriages 
and  deaths  of  the  patriarchs. 

The  writer's  views  on  the  nature  and  person  of  Christ 
are  to  be  gathered  rather  from  incidental  statements 
than  found  definitely  expressed  in  formal  enunciations  of 
dogma.  In  the  absence  of  any  authoritative  creed,  con- 
taining definitions  and  limitations  and  doctrinal  pro- 
nouncements, an  early  writer,  producing  a  treatise  for 
popular  use,  was  not  constrained  to  put  forward  his 
opinions  with  logical  precision,  or  to  formulate  a  system 
of  theology.  Hence  we  find  a  certain  haziness  in  our 
author's  conception  on  this  great  subject,  and  it  is  some- 


what  difficult  to  arrive  at  his  real  sentiments.  His  ideas 
concerning  the  Messiah  are,  of  course,  essentially  Jewish, 
and  differ  considerably  from  what  we  have  learned  to 
consider  the  orthodox  Christian  tenet.  The  straight- 
forward simplicity  of  the  Mcene  doctrine  is  unknown  to 
him,  and  he  fluctuates  between  the  notions  of  Christ  as 
Divine  and  Christ  as  sanctified  man,  at  one  time  regarding 
Him  as  God  incarnate,  at  another  seeming  to  speak  of 
Him  as  human  and  nothing  more.  The  passages  which 
bear  on  the  latter  assumption  are  only  three  in  number, 
and  are  these :  in  the  Testament  of  Levi  (chap,  xvi.)  we 
read,  "  the  man  who  reneweth  (avSpa  avafcaivoTroiovvTo) 
the  law  in  the  power  of  the  Most  High  ye  shall  call 
Deceiver,  and  at  last,  as  ye  think,  ye  shall  kill  Him,  not 
knowing  His  resurrection  (avdo-rrj^d),  wickedly  taking 
the  innocent  blood  upon  your  heads.  On  account  of  Him 
your  holy  places  shall  be  desolate."  Judah,  borrowing 
his  language  from  Balaam's  prophecy,  proclaims  (chap, 
xx iv.)  :  "  After  these  things  a  star  shall  arise  to  you  from 
Jacob  in  peace,  and  a  man  (avQpcaTros)  shall  stand 
up  from  my  seed,  as  a  sun  of  righteousness,  walking 
with  the  sons  of  men  in  meekness  and  righteousness,  and 
no  sin  shall  be  found  in  Him."  Naphtali  warns  his 
children  of  the  fate  that  shall  befall  their  descendants  in 
punishment  of  their  transgressions  (chap,  iv.)  :  "  The  Lord 
shall  scatter  them  over  the  face  of  all  the  earth,  until  the 
compassion  of  the  Lord  ((nr\d<yicvov  Kvplov)  shall  come, 
even  a  man  (avOpcoTros)  working  righteousness,  and 
showing  mercy  unto  all  those  that  are  far  off  and  those 
that  are  near."  These  passages  regard  purely  the  human 
nature  of  Christ,  and  taken  by  themselves  might  show 


that  the  writer  did  not  believe  in  His  Divinity.  But 
other  expressions  modify  this  conclusion.  Thus  the 
passage  above  quoted  from  Judah  proceeds  :  "  The 
heavens  shall  be  opened  upon  Him  to  pour  forth  the 
spirit  and  blessing  of  the  holy  Father  ;  and  He  Himself 
shall  pour  forth  upon  you  the  spirit  of  grace.  .  .  .  This 
is  the  scion  (/SXacrro?)  of  the  Most  High  God,  and  this  is 
the  fountain  unto  life  of  all  flesh."  Levi  (chap,  xviii.) 
refers  to  the  baptism  of  Messiah  in  these  words  :  "  The 
heavens  shall  be  opened,  and  from  the  temple  of  glory 
shall  come  upon  Him  consecration  (a^iaa-pa)  with  the 
voice  of  the  Father  (at.  of  the  Spirit),  as  from  Abraham, 
father  of  Isaac."  This  is  explained  1  to  mean  that  the 
relation  of  Christ  to  the  Father  is  as  close  as  that  of  a 
human  son  to  his  father.  But  the  expression  is  obscure. 
We  have,  however,  much  more  definite  statements  to  pro- 
duce. The  pre-existence  of  the  Messiah  is  fully  allowed. 
Before  He  comes  to  perform  His  special  work  on  earth 
He  is  called  the  Angel  that  intercedes  for  Israel,  a 
mediator  between  God  and  man.2  This  is  probably  a 
term  derived  from  the  Old  Testament  idea  of  the  Angel 
of  Jehovah,  or  the  Angel  of  the  Presence,  who  adum- 
brated Christ.  Benjamin  (chap,  ix.)  speaks  of  Him  as 
the  "  Only-begotten  ;  "  Levi  (chap,  iv.),  as  "  Son  of  the 
Lord  ;  "  Simeon  tells  (chap,  vi.)  how  "  the  Lord,  the  great 
God  of  Israel,  shall  appear  upon  the  earth  as  man,3  and 
shall  save  man  (Adam)  in  Him."  ..."  Then,"  he  adds, 

1  By  Dorner  (i.  156),  quoted  by  Sinker,  p.  93. 

2  Dan  chap.  vi.  ;  Lev.  ii.-v. 

3  The  words  u$  olvSpuTros  occur  in  all  the  MSS.  except  the  Oxford, 
which,  as  Mr.  Sinker  opines,  has  a  tendency  to  omit  words. 


"  I  shall  arise  in  gladness,  and  shall  bless  the  Highest 
for  His  marvellous  works,  because  God  having 
taken  a  body,  and  eating  with  men,  saved  man ; " 
and  he  proceeds  (chap,  vii.) :  "  Do  not  lift  up  your- 
selves against  Levi  and  Judah,  for  from  them  shall 
arise  unto  you  the  salvation  of  God.  For  the  Lord 
shall  raise  up  from  Levi  as  it  were  a  Priest,  and  from 
Judah  as  it  were  a  King,  God  [and  Man.  Thus  shall 
He  save  all  the  nations  and  the  race  of  Israel."  In 
another  place  Levi  appears  to  enunciate  the  heresy  of 
Patripassianism,  with  which  the  Nazarenes  were  more  or 
less  infected.  "  Now,  know  ye  that  the  Lord  will  take 
vengeance  on  the  sons  of  men,  because,  when  the  rocks 
were  rent,  and  the  sun  quenched,  and  the  waters  dried 
up,  and  fire  cowered,  and  all  creation  was  confounded 
...  at  the  passion  of  the  Most  High,  men  unbelieving 
continued  in  their  iniquities." l  Judah  (chap,  xxii.) 
speaks  thus :  "  The  Lord  shall  bring  upon  them  dis- 
sensions one  with  another,  and  there  shall  be  in  Israel 
continual  wars,  and  among  the  Gentiles  shall  my  king- 
dom be  accomplished,  until  the  salvation  of  Israel  shall 
have  come,  until  the  appearing  (eW  Trapovcrias)  of  the 
God  of  Eighteousness  to  give  rest  in  peace  to  Jacob  and 
all  the  nations."  From  certain  expressions  in  the 
Testament  of  Zebulun  we  should  gather  the  writer's 
opinions  to  be  that  the  man  Christ  was  deified  by  union 
with  the  Godhead,  a  modified  form  of  the  Cerinthian 
heresy.  We  read  (chap,  ix.) :  "  Ye  shall  see  God  in  the 
form  of  man,  whom  the  Lord  shall  choose ;  Jerusalem  is 

1  Levi  iv.    This  is  one  of  the  passages  supposed  to  be  an  interpola- 
tion ;  but  there  is  no  sufficient  ground  for  the  supposition. 


His  name."  l  In  many  other  places  it  is  stated  that  God, 
the  Lord,  the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  shall  dwell  among  men, 
and  be  worshipped,  and  shall  judge  the  nations.2  Not  to 
multiply  examples  to  the  same  effect,  we  must  infer  that 
the  author  himself  held  somewhat  indistinct  views  con- 
cerning the  two  natures  of  Christ  and  His  relation  to 
God,  at  one  time  identifying  Him  with  God,  at  another 
plainly  distinguishing  Him  from  God.  From  two  para- 
graphs which  refer  to  Christ's  baptism,3  it  would  seem 
that  it  was  not  till  that  event  that  the  man  Christ 
became  participant  of  the  indwelling  of  God  in  the 
highest  sense.  That  He  was  to  be  born  of  a  virgin  we 
have  seen  in  our  quotation  from  the  Testament  of  Joseph, 
where  the  linen  robe  in 'which  she  is  dressed  implies  a 
connection  with  the  priesthood.4  And  His  spotless 
character  is  gathered  from  the  epithets  which  occur  in 
the  Testaments,  e.g.  guiltless,  sinless,  true,  long-suffering, 
gentle,  lowly.  Schnapp,  followed  by  Schlirer  and  others, 
would  regard  all  such  passages  as  Christian  interpolations 
foisted  into  a  Jewish  work  ;  and,  of  course,  such  a  theory 
would  explain  their  appearance  in  the  places  where  they 
are  found.  But  the  opinion  which  we  have  adopted 

1  Tliis  last  expression  is  peculiar,  and  is  varied  in  the  MSS.     Mr. 
Sinker's  text  is  that  of  the  Cambridge,  with  which  the   Eoman 
agrees.     The  Patmos  MS.  has  "  in  Jerusalem,  for  His  name's  sake  ; " 
the  Oxford  gives  the  same.     The  rendering  of  Grabe  is  :  "  Quoniam 
elegit  Deus   Hierusalem,   nomen  Deus  ei."     Probably  the  text  is 

2  Dan  v.  ;  Napthali  viii.  ;  Aslier  vii.  ;  Benjamin  x. 

3  Levi.xviii.  ;  Judah  xxiv. 

4  Mr.  Sinker  appositely  quotes  the  Apocryphal  Gospels  in  illustra- 
tion of  the  tendency  to  associate  the  priestly  tribe  with  the  royalty  of 
Messiah  through  the  Virgin  Mary. 


equally  well  accounts  for  such  paragraphs ;  and  the  large 
extent  of  these  Christian  passages  makes  the  opposite 
theory  unlikely  and  difficult  of  acceptance.  It  may  also 
be  said  that  a  later  Christian  would  have  had  more 
definite  views  than  those  intimated  herein. 

The  view  taken  of  the  office  of  Messiah  is  indi- 
cated by  the  continual  reference  to  His  origin  from  the 
tribes  of  Levi  and  Judah.  He  is  Priest  as  well  as 
King,  and  under  the  former  aspect  is  supreme.  But 
little  is  said  of  His  death,  and  its  connection  with  the 
Priesthood  of  Messiah  is  ignored;  the  teaching  of  the 
Epistle  to  the  Hebrews  has  not  been  studied,  and  we  are 
not  told  that  Christ,  by  His  own  blood,  hath  entered 
once  for  all  into  the  holy  places,  having  obtained  eternal 
redemption  for  men.  But  it  is  believed  that  sins  are 
blotted  out  through  the  priesthood,  though  how  this  is 
exercised  is  not  distinctly  stated.  As  King,  Messiah  wars 
against  evil,  and  crushes  the  power  of  Beliar;  and  this 
victory  shall  be  finally  accomplished  when  Israel  has 
learned  the  lesson  of  faith.  Of  Christ's  ascension  and 
session  in  heaven  some  little  is  said  ;  but  of  His  return  to 
judgment  nothing  definite  can  be  found  expressed.  The 
author  certainly  holds  that  the  just  shall  rise  again,  and 
be  rewarded  for  all  their  sufferings  on  earth,  and  share  in 
Messiah's  kingdom ;  but  he  is  very  indistinct  concerning 
the  fate  of  the  wicked,  and  has  nothing  to  say  of 
Messiah's  part  as  Judge. 

The  indefiniteness  of  the  writer  appears  conspicuously 
in  the  view  which  He  takes  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  No- 
where is  He  spoken  of  as  God.  He  is  called  the  Spirit 
of  Sanctification,  the  Spirit  of  Understanding,  and  He  is 


said  to  rest  on  Messiah ;  but  no  hint  of  His  equality  with 
the  Father  and  the  Son  is  given.  Nor  can  we  discover 
that  our  author  believed  in  His  distinct  personality ;  but 
he  seems  to  have  regarded  Him  merely  as  an  operation 
or  manifestation  of  the  Godhead. 

For  the  criticism  of  the  New  Testament  the  book 
affords  some  assistance,  as  it  contains  quotations  or 
allusions  which  show  familiarity  with  most  of  our  early 
Christian  documents.  Eeferences  to  the  writings  of  St. 
John  are  not  infrequent.  Thus  Dan  (chap,  xiv.)  speaks  of 
"  the  light  of  the  world,  which  was  given  among  you  for 
the  enlightenment  of  every  man/'  which  recalls  chap.  i. 
9  and  viii.  1 2  ;  Benjamin  (chap,  iii.)  and  Joseph  (chap, 
xix.)  call  the  Saviour  of  the  world  "  the  Lamb  of  God."  l 
Issachar  (chap,  vii.)  has  the  phrase,  "  a  sin  unto  death." 2 
Levi  (chap,  xviii.)  says  that  Messiah  "  shall  give  unto  the 
saints  to  eat  of  the  tree  of  life ; "  Dan  (chap,  v.)  makes 
mention  of  "  the  new  Jerusalem." 3  Traces  of  acquaint- 
ance with  most  of  the  other  books  of  the  New  Testament 
may  be  found  scattered  throughout  the  work.  Levi 
(chap,  xviii.)  tells  of  the  Father's  voice  that  came  upon 
Christ  in  the  water,4  and  of  Him  "  who  should  redeem 
Israel." 5  We  have  allusions  to  the  holy  books,  and  the 
work  and  word  of  Paul,6  which  would  imply  that  the 
Acts  and  Pauline  Epistles  were  known  to  the  writer. 
"  The  Spirit  of  God,"  says  Benjamin  (chap,  ix.),  "  shall 
come  upon  the  Gentiles,  as  fire  poured  forth." 7  Eeuben 

1  John  i.  29,  36.  2  1  John  v.  16,  17. 

3  Rev.  ii.  7,  xxi.  2.  4  Matt  iii.  16,  17. 

5  Luke  xxiv.  21.  6  Benjamin  chap.  xi.        7  Acts  ii.  3. 


(chap,  v.)  admonishes,  like  St.  Paul  and  St.  Peter,  "  Flee 
fornication  ;  and  bid  your  women  not  to  adorn  their  heads 
and  faces."  *  Levi  (chap,  vi.)  repeats  St.  Paul's  difficult 
phrase  in  1  Thess.  ii.  16:  "  The  wrath  of  God  is  come 
upon  them  to  the  uttermost,"  e^daaev  eV  avrovs  .  .  .  efc 
re\o9.  "  The  God  of  peace,"  and  "  God  in  the  form  of 
man,"  are  Pauline  terms.2  Levi  (chap,  x.)  and  Benjamin 
(chap,  xi.)  adopt  this  phrase,  "  the  consummation  of  the 
ages,"  from  Heb.  ix.  26.3  As  bearing  on  the  canonicity 
of  disputed  books,  we  may  add  that  Keuben's  (chap,  v.) 
utterance,  that  the  woman  who  is  a  deceiver  "  is  reserved 
unto  eternal  punishment,"  seems  to  be  a  quotation  from 
2  Pet.  ii.  4,  9  and  Jude  6. 

In  De  la  Bigne's  Magna  Bibliotlicca,  where  Grosseteste's 
Latin  version  is  printed,  the  following  verdict  concerning 
our  book  is  given  :  "  Liber  hie  apocryphus  est  pseudepi- 
graphus,  fabulosus  et  indignus  plane  qui  legatur  ;  multa 
enim  continet  partim  erronea,  partim  vana  et  mendacia, 
nullo  auctore  aut  fundamento  subnixa,  quse  facile  lector 
et  discernet  et  repudiabit."  A  careful  student  of  the 
work  would  not  nowadays  assent  to  this  conclusion. 
Far  from  being  unworthy  of  perusal,  it  may  justly  claim 
the  most  attentive  consideration,  as  the  product  of  an 
important  era  too  little  understood,  and  embodying  the 
views  of  a  party  which  has  left  the  scantiest  literature. 
Whether  it  was  composed  at  Pella,  as  Mr.  Sinker 
supposes,  we  have  no  ground  for  deciding;  but  that  it 

1  1  Cor.  vi.  18  ;  1  Pet.  iii.  3. 

2  2  Cor.  xii.  11,  Phil.  ii.  7,   compared   with  Dan  chap.  v.  and 
Zebulun  chap.  ix. 

ruv  cclavuv.      See  a  full  collection  of  these  coincidences 
in  Mr.  Sinker's  Index  II. 


emanated  from  a  Nazarene,  at  a  time  when  dogma  was 
still  fluctuating  and  no  authoritative  decree  had  fixed  the 
truth  on  doubtful  questions,  is  obvious.  We  have  here  a 
glimpse  of  early  Christian  doctrine  and  ethics  which  is 
almost  unique.  The  large-minded  utterances  of  the 
Patriarchs  are  very  notable.  The  author  has  accepted 
the  Messiah  as  He  really  appeared,  though  His  guise  was 
far  different  from  what  was  expected :  and  he  aims  at 
making  his  unbelieving  countrymen  see  with  his  eyes, 
and  recognise  in  the  Jesus  whom  they  slew  the  Messiah 
long  promised  and  foretold,  who  should  bring  salvation, 
not  to  the  Jews  only,  but  to  those  who  were  far  off,  even 
unto  the  ends  of  the  earth. 




THE  Book  of  Jubilees,  or  the  Little  Genesis,  is  mentioned 
by  name  continually  in  the  writings  of  the  early  Fathers, 
and  by  a  succession  of  authors  reaching  to  Theodorus 
Metochita  (A.D.  1332).  Allusions  to  information  con- 
tained therein,  without  actual  naming  of  the  origin  of 
the  statements,  are  very  numerous,-  particularly  in  the 
Byzantine  chroniclers,  so  that  the  work  was  well  and 
widely  known  up  to  the  middle  of  the  fourteenth 
century ;  but  from  that  time  the  original  has  been 
entirely  lost.  For  four  hundred  years  nothing  but  a 
few  scattered  fragments  was  known  to  exist.  The  age, 
however,  which  witnessed  the  rediscovery  of  "  The 
Assumption  of  Moses "  has  been  gratified  by  the  re- 
appearance of  the  Book  of  Jubilees.  Dr.  Krapff,  an 
African  missionary,  found  the  book  in  Abyssinia,  had 
it  transcribed,  and  sent  the  manuscript  to  the  University 
Library  in  Tubingen.  The  work  was  an  Ethiopian 
version  of  the  original,  complete,  indeed,  in  one  sense, 
but  full  of  errors,  and  not  a  trustworthy  representation 



of  the  original.  It  was  translated  by  Dillmann  in 
Ewald's  Jahrlucher,  ii.  and  in.,  with  an  appendix  con- 
taining discussions  on  the  main  points  of  interest. 
With  the  aid  of  another  MS.,  Dillmann  published  the 
Ethiopian  text  in  1859.1  Some  further  fragments  of 
two  old  Latin  translations  have  been  set  forth  by  Ceriani 
and  Ronsch,2  and  these  with  the  Ethiopic  text  enable  us 
to  give  a  satisfactory  account  of  this  curious  and  long- 
lost  work.  Previously  to  the  appearance  of  these  pub- 
lications, students  who  desired  to  know  anything  about 
the  book  had  to  refer  to  Fabricius'  Codex.  Pseudep.  V.  T., 
wherein  were  collected  such  fragments  as  had  been  pre- 
served by  Jerome  and  other  early  writers.  Some  years 
later,  A.  Treuenfels  3  added  a  few  other  passages  dis- 
covered by  himself,  comparing  them  with  the  Jewish 
Midrashim,  the  correspondence  with  which  he  was  the 
first  to  proclaim.  But  these  fragments  gave  a  very 
inadequate  impression  of  the  contents  of  the  Parva 
Genesis,  and  the  announcement  in  1844  of  the  existence 

1  Kufale,   sive   Liber    Jubilseorum  .  .  .  nuper  ex    Abyssinia  in 
Europam  allatus.     .^Ethiopice   ad   duorum  librorum   MSS.   fidem 
primum  ed.  Dr.  Aug.  Dillmann  (Kilias  et  Londini  1859). 

2  Ceriani,  Monumenta  sacra  et  profana  ex  codd.  prcesertim  Biblioth. 
Ambrosiance,  Mediol.  1861,  Tom.  i.  Fasc.  i.     Ronsch,  Das  Buck  der 
Jubilden  oder  die  Tdeine  Genesis  (Leipz.  1874). 

3  "Die  kleine  Genesis,"  in  Literaturbl.  d.  Orients,  1846,  Nos.  1-6. 
Other  works  on  the  subject  are  these  :  A.  Jellinek,  Bet  ha-Midrasch, 
Th.  1-3  (Leipz.  1853-1855).     B.  Beer,  Das  Buck  der  Jubil.  u.  sein 
VerJidltniss  zu  den  Midraschim  (Leipz.  1856) ;  and  Noch  ein   Wort 
iiber  d.  B,  d.  Jub.  (Leipz.  1857).     Frankel  in  Monatsschrift  f.  Gesch. 
des  Judenthums,  1856,  1857.     Two  treatises  by  Dillmann  ;  Krtiger, 
"Die  Chronol.  im  Buch  der  Jubil.,"  in  Zeitschr.  1858.     Rubin,  Das 
Buck  der  Jubil.  1870.     Ginsburg  in  Kitto's  Cyclopced.     There  is  a 
translation  "by  Schodde  in  Bibliotheca  sacra,  1885. 


of  a  complete  copy  was  hailed  with  delight  by  the  learned 

Some  difficulty  had  occurred  in  earlier  investigations 
in  fixing  the  identity  of  the  book  from  which  the 
citations  were  made,  owing  to  the  different  appellations 
under  which  it  was  known,  or  by  which  reference  was 
made  to  it.  The  oldest  reference,  that  in  Epiphanius,1 
calls  it  "  Jubilees,"  or  the  "  Book  of  Jubilees,"  a  very 
fitting  designation  of  a  treatise  which  divided  the  history 
of  which  it  treated  into  periods  of  Jubilees,  i.e.  of  forty- 
nine  years,  the  author,  in  his  strong  partiality  for  the 
number  seven,  departing  from  the  Mosaic  principle 
which  counted  the  fiftieth  as  the  year  of  release  (Lev. 
xxv.  10).  Epiphanius  and  many  others  also  name  it 
the  "  Little  Genesis,"  Microgenesis,  Leptogenesis,  or  ra 
\67TTa  rWo-e&>9 — the  minutiaB  of  Genesis2 — appellations 
appropriate  to  it,  not  as  being  less  in  bulk  than  the 
scriptural  record,  but  as  giving  particulars  of  name,  date, 
and  other  "small  matters"  not  found  in  the  canonical 
book,  or  because  it  divides  the  history  into  small  periods. 
Other  references  are  current  which  probably,  though 
not  with  certainty,  appertain  to  this  book.  Thus  Syn- 
cellus 3  more  than  once  alludes  to  "  what  is  called  the 
Life  of  Adam,"  quoting  from  it  passages  which  occur  in 
the  "  Jubilees,"  so  that  ,  it  seems  likely  that  the  work 
which  he  names  is  merely  a  portion  of  the  latter.  The 
same  is  also  true  of  the  "  Book  of  Adam's  Daughters," 

1  Hceres.  xxxix.  :    a;  \v  rolg  'I^j/3>j>ot/o;f  tvpiyxsTxi)  ry  x.ccl 

(al.   hfTTTO'/ivi'TSl)  KOthOV/XSVy. 

2  Hieron.  Ep.  127,  Ad  Fabiol.     Syncell.  Chronogr.  p.  3. 

3  Chronogr.  pp.  7-9  :  6  Asyo^gz/oj  fifo;  ' 


mentioned  in  a  decree  of  Pope  Gelasius.1  The  title 
"Apocalypse  of  Moses,"  Syncellus  himself  applies  to 
•"  Little  Genesis."  2  In  the  Ambrosian  MS.  our  book  is 
followed  immediately  by  the  "  Assumption  of  Moses,"  as 
though  this  formed  an  appendix  to  the  former ;  and  in 
the  catalogues  of  Pseudo-Athanasius  and  Nicephorus, 
the  "Testament  (AiaOi]Kr[)  of  Moses"  directly  precedes 
the  "  Assumption ; "  so  that  it  is  not  unlikely  that 
the  "  Testament  of  Moses  "  is  merely  another  name  for 
the  "  Book  of  Jubilees."  The  Abyssinian  Church  names 
it  the  "  Book  of  the  Division  of  Days,"  from  the  first 
words  of  the  inscription  at  the  beginning. 

The  original  language  of  the  book  is  without  doubt 
Hebrew  or  Aramaic.  Many  expressions  in  the  version 
are  unintelligible  without  reference  to  this  text ;  Hebrew 
or  Aramaic  etymologies  of  proper  names  are  given ;  and 
we  have  Jerome's  express  statement 3  that  certain  Hebrew 

1  Mansi,  Cone.  viii.  167,  where,  according  to  Ronsch,  p.  478,  the 
correct  reading  is  :  "  Liber  de  filiabus  Adag,  hoc  est  Leptogenesis." 
This,  at  any  rate,  proves  that  the  book  was  known  in  the  West, 
which,  indeed,  the  fact  of  the  existence  of  a  Latin  version  would  also 

2  P.  4  :    fa  KOU  Mwt/ffgwf  ilvoti  Qotai  Ttvsg  diroxu'hvij/iv.      So,  p.  49,  a 
little  before,  Syncellus  refers  the  clause  in  Gal.  vi.  15  :  "  Neither 
circumcision  availeth  anything,"  etc.,  to  the  "  Revelation  of  Moses." 
Tischendorf  in  his  critical  note  writes  :  "  Item  Syncell.  teste  Gb., 
sed  ignore  locum."      The  clause  in  question  is  not  found  in  our 
present  text  of  "  Jubilees  ; "  but  as  this  is  confessedly  very  imperfect, 
the  omission  proves  nothing. 

3  Ep.  127,  Ad  Fabiol. :  "Hoc  verbum  plD"),  Num.  xxxiii.  21], 

quantum  memoria  suggerit,  nusquam  alibi  in  Scripturis  sanctis  apud 
Hebrseos  invenisse  me  novi  absque  libro  apocrypho  qui  a  Graecis 
M/fcjcoyfi/fff/,'  appellatur.  Ibi  in  sedificatione  turris  pro  stadio  ponitur 
in  quo  exercentur  pugiles  et  athletse  et  cursorum  velocitas  compro- 
batur."  The  passage  referred  to  is  lost  in  the  Ethiopic  version. 


words  on  which  he  is  commenting  are  found  in  what  he 
calls  "  Microgenesis."  The  wives  of  the  Sethites  are 
called  by  names  which  are  expressive  of  beauty  or  virtue 
in  Hebrew.  That  Seth  married  Azurah,  restrain ;  Jared, 
Beracha,  Ucssiny ;  Enoch,  Adni,  pleasure;  while  Cain 
married  his  sister  Avan,  vice.  There  are  also  numerous 
passages  wherein  our  book  agrees  with  the  Hebrew  in 
opposition  to  the  Septuagint,1  and  some  where  it  follows 
an  independent  Hebrew  original.  The  present  Ethiopia 
version,  however,  was  made  from  a  Greek  and  not  a 
Hebrew  original.  This  fact,  which  the  history  of  other 
Abyssinian  literature  made  antecedently  probable,  is  con- 
firmed by  the  introduction  of  Greek  words  into  the  text, 
e.g.  Spvs,  /SaXaro?,  Xn/r,  (frdpayj;,  etc.  Thus,  too,  we  have 
the  Septuagintal  forms,  Mambrim  for  Mamre,  Geraron 
for  Gerar,  Kiriath  Arbok  for  Kirjath-Arba,  Aunan  for 

Jerome  again  appeals  to  our  book  in  the  same  Epistle,  Mansio,  24  : 
"Hoc  eodem  vocabulo  [mn,  Num.  xxxiii.  27]  et  iisdem  literis 

scriptum  invenio  patrem  Abraham,  qui  in  supradicto  apocrypho 
Geneseos  volumine  abactis  corvis,  qui  hominum  frumenta  vastabant, 
abactoris  vel  depulsoris  sortitus  est  nomen." 

1  E.g.  Gen.  xlv.  22:  "Three  hundred  pieces  of  silver;"  Sept. 
"gold."  iii.  17:  "Cursed  is  the  ground  for  thy  sake;"  Sept.  "in 
thy  works."  xv.  11  :  "And  when  the  fowls  came  down  upon  the 
carcases,  Abram  drove  them  away ; "  Sept.  "  sat  among  them."  xxxvii. 
29  :  "  Let  thy  mother's  sons  bow  down  to  thee  ; "  Sept.  "  thy  father's." 
On  the  other  hand,  some  passages  agree  with  the  Greek  version  and 
not  with  the  Hebrew.  Thus  Jubil.  chap.  xxiv.  :  "  And  the  servants 
of  Isaac  digged  yet  another  well  and  found  no  water  ;  and  they  went 
and  told  Isaac  that  they  had  found  no  water."  The  Hebrew  of  Gen. 
xxvi.  32  is  :  "  We  have  found  water  ; "  but  the  LXX.  give  ovx  svpo^tv 
v$up.  The  introduction  of  Cainan  as  son  of  Arphaxad  (chap,  viii.) 
is  supported  by  the  Sept.  but  not  by  the  Hebrew,  and  is  further 
warranted  to  be  original  by  the  comparison  of  the  number  of  created 
works,  viz.  twenty-two,  with  the  number  of  the  patriarchs  from 


Aner  (Gen.  xiv.  24),  Heliopolis  for  On,  Gesem  for  Goshen. 
On  the  other  hand,  if  the  old  Latin  may  be  supposed  to 
have  been  translated  directly  from  the  Hebrew,1  containing 
as  it  does  many  grammatical  forms  or  phrases  peculiar  to 
that  language,  which  would  hardly  have  escaped  alteration 
in  passing  through  Greek  into  Latin,  yet  the  translator 
seems  to  have  been  well  acquainted  with  the  work  of  the 
Seventy,  and  to  have  referred  to  this  version  in  rendering 
his  original. 

As  to  the  date  of  the  composition,  nothing  can  with 
certainty  be  determined.  The  author  was  well  acquainted 
with  and  refers  to  some  sections  of  the  Book  of  Enoch, 
and  has  adopted  many  of  its  glosses  on  Old  Testament 
history.2  Thus,  as  Ewald  and  Schiirer  note,  it  is  said  of 
Enoch  that  "  he  wrote  in  a  book  the  signs  of  heaven  in 
the  order  of  their  months,  in  order  that  the  children  of 

Adam  to  Jacob,  who  amount  to  twenty-two  only  by  including  this 
Cainan.  See  Frankel,  v.  p.  345.  And  some  few  differ  from  both. 
Thus  Gen.  xiii.  14  (Heb.  and  Sept.)  :  "  North,  south,  east,  west ; " 
Jubil.  "  West,  south,  east,  north "  (according  to  the  Latin  version). 
Gen.  xxviii.  5  :  "  The  mother  of  Jacob  and  Esau  ; "  Jubil.  "  mother 
of  Jacob."  After  Gen.  xxx.  28,  Laban  says  :  "  Kemain  with  me  for 
wages,  and  feed  my  flocks  again,  and  take  thy  wages," — which  has 
no  exact  counterpart  in  Heb.  or  Sept.  For  Gen.  xxxiii.  18,  where 
Heb.  and  Sept.  coincide,  Jubil.  gives  :  "  And  Jacob  moved  further 
and  dwelt  towards  the  north  in  Magd  Ladra  Ephrathah."  In  the 
honour  paid  to  Joseph,  Gen.  xli.  43,  it  is  proclaimed  before  him, 
"El  el  Waabrir,"  in  the  Latin,  "Elel  et  Haboid,"  or  "El  el  et  abior." 
From  these  variations  it  is  natural  to  conclude  that  the  writer  used 
a  text  differing  materially  from  the  Masoretic  recension. 

1  For  the  grounds  for  this  statement  see  Rb'nsch,  §  15,  where  the 
opinions  >on  both  sides  are  presented,  the  writer  himself  concluding 
that  the  Latin  translator  had  before  him  the  Greek  rather  than  the 
Hebrew  text. 

2  See  JubiL  chap.  iv. ;  Jahrb.  ii.  pp.  240,  241. 


men  might  know  the  seasons  of  the  year,  according  to 
the  order  of  the  various  months.  .  .  .  He  saw  in  his 
dream  the  past  and  the  future,  what  was  going  to  happen 
to  the  sons  of  the  children  of  men  in  their  generations 
one  after  another  down  to  the  day  of  judgment.  All 
this  he  saw  and  knew,  and  wrote  it  down  as  a  testimony, 
and  left  it  on  the  earth  as  a  testimony  for  all  the  sons  of 
the  children  of  men,  and  for  their  generations."  This  is 
quite  a  correct  account  of  the  contents  of  part  of  the 
Book  of  Enoch  as  it  has  come  down  to  us.  On  the 
other  hand,  he  himself  has  been  known  to,  and  probably 
quoted  by,  the  writer  of  the  "  Testaments  of  the  Twelve 
Patriarchs."  There  are  many  verbal  parallelisms  or 
plagiarisms  which  have  been  noted  by  Ronsch  and 
others ;  there  are  also  some  details  which  may  be  de- 
rived from  the  same  source.  The  account  of  Reuben's 
crime  agrees  with  the  narrative  in  the  Jubilees.  Other 
matters  are,  Levi's  dream  concerning  the  priesthood,  and 
the  favour  which  the  Lord  should  shower  upon  him ;  the 
names  of  the  wives  of  Levi  and  Judah ;  the  war  against 
the  Canaanite  kings ;  Zebulon's  prediction  of  Israel's 
apostasy ;  Joseph's  temptations,  which  are  plainly  an 
imitation  of  Abraham's.  In  these  and  many  other 
passages  the  Testaments  reproduce  the  facts  of  the 
Jubilees.  In  the  chronology  also  there  is  remarkable 
similarity.  Now,  if  this  connection  is  established,  as 
Ronsch  and  others 1  have  with  tolerable  certainty  demon- 
strated, we  have  at  once  a  limitation  of  the  period  during 
which  Leptogenesis  was  composed,  and  may  assign  it  to 

1  Ronsch,  §  11;  and  Dillmann,  Jahrb.  Hi.  p.  91  if.;  Sinker,  Test. 
of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs,  pp.  41  if. 


some  date  between  B.C.  100  and  A.D.  100.  But  further 
limitation  is  possible.  The  author  appears  to  have  used 
the  Second  Book  of  Esdras,  the  genuine  portions  of 
which  are  attributed  to  the  age  immediately  preceding 
the  Christian  era.  Whether  the  writers  of  the  New 
Testament  were  conversant  with  the  Book  of  Jubilees  is 
a  question  which  we  cannot  here  discuss.  Certainly 
there  are  many  points  in  the  Angelology  and  Demon- 
ology  of  both  which  afford  a  striking  similarity,  and  many 
expressions  which  are  analogous  or  identical ; l  but  we 
will  found  no  argument  upon  this.  Some  have  traced  an 
intentionally  antichristian  spirit  in  the  work,  and  have 
thence  inferred  that  it  was  produced  some  few  years 
after  the  death  of  our  Lord.  We  must  at  any  rate  date 
it  before  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  A.D.  70.  The 
seer  speaks  (chap,  i.)  of  the  Lord  dwelling  for  ever  in 
Zion,  of  the  temple  lasting  to  all  time,  and  its  holiness 
enduring  to  all  eternity.  Like  Enoch  (chap.  Ivi.),  he 
makes  Jerusalem  the  centre  of  the  earth  and  the  seat  of 
sovereignty.  Such  expressions  could  not  have  been 
used  by  one  who  had  witnessed  the  overthrow  of  the 
sacred  city  at  the  hands  of  the  Eomans.  The  great 
stress  laid  on  the  duty  of  sacrifice  and  of  making  the  legal 
offerings  points  to  the  same  conclusion.  The  writer 
must  have  had  in  his  view  a  regular  ritual,  and  a  temple 
wherein  sacrifices  were  then  offered,  which,  as  he  ex- 

1  Thus  :  Abraham  is  inscribed  in  the  heavenly  tables  as  "  a  friend 
of  the  Lord,"  chap.  xix.  Cf.  Jas.  ii.  23.  Noah,  chap,  vii.,  is  said  to 
have  taught  his  sons  and  grandsons  all  God's  commandments  and  the 
way  of  righteousness.  Cf.  2  Pet.  ii.  5  ;  and  the  fate  of  the  evil  angels 
in  ver.  4  ;  and  the  giving  of  the  Law  through  the  medium  of  angels, 
Acts  vii.  53  ;  Gal.  iii.  19  ;  Heb.  ii.  2. 


pressly  says  (chap,  xxxii.),  were  to  continue  to  the  end 
of  the  world.  We  may  therefore  from  the  above  con- 
siderations conclude  that  the  Look  was  composed  about 
the  middle  of  the  first  Christian  century. 

That  Palestine  was  the  abode  of  the  author  may  be 
justly  inferred  from  the  language  in  which  the  work 
was  originally  written.  The  few  striking  cases,  where 
apparently  the  wording  of  the  Septuagint  has  been 
adopted,  must  be  attributed  to  the  translator,  as  the 
well-known  animosity  against  the  Greek  version  exhibited 
by  the  Palestinian  Jews  precludes  the  possibility  of  the 
author  himself  employing  it  in  writing  his  history.  The 
angel  of  the  vision  orders  Abram  to  transcribe  the 
Hebrew  books,  and  to  teach  that  language  to  his  de- 
scendants (chap,  xii.) — an  injunction  which,  understood 
as  the  author  intended,  could  be  carried  out  in  no- 
foreign  land,  but  only  in  Palestine,  the  home  of  "  Adam's 
primitive  language."  Joseph  speaks  Hebrew  when  he 
makes  himself  known  to  his  brethren.  The  stress  laid 
upon  complete  separation  from  the  heathen,  and  the 
necessity  of  holding  aloof  from  all  communication  with 
exterior  peoples,  would  have  been  absurd  if  addressed  to 
any  but  dwellers  in  the  promised  land ;  and  although 
attempts  have  been  made  to  show  that  the  writer  was  a 
priest  of  the  temple  of  Leontopolis,  in  Egypt,  the 
evidence  for  this  theory  is  feeble,  and  the  argument 
is  based  on  assumptions  which  are  unproved,  There  are 
indeed  certain  intimations  that  the  author  followed  some- 
times a  different  tradition  from  that  which  obtained 
among  the  Jews  of  Palestine,  as  where  he  enjoins  that 
the  first -fruits  of  a  tree  in  its  fourth  year  should  be 


brought  to  the  altar,  and  that  the  remainder  should  be 
eaten  by  the  ministers  of  the  Lord  before  the  altar 
(chap,  vii.)  ;  whereas,  according  to  the  Palestinian  Halacha, 
the  fruit  belonged  to  the  owner  of  the  tree  absolutely, 
who  was  bound  to  consume  it  in  Jerusalem.1  And 
hence  arises  one  of  the  arguments  for  the  theory  that 
the  work  was  composed  in  Egypt ;  but  we  have  no  proof 
that  any  of  the  traditions  adopted  by  the  author  were 
-especially  of  Egyptian  origin ;  nor  is  it  probable  that  a 
Hebrew  treatise  would  emanate  from  that  country.  The 
Jews  in  Egypt,  if  we  may  believe  the  translator  of 
Ecclesiasticus,  had  not  maintained  the  knowledge  of 
their  ancient  tongue ;  and  the  writings  of  Philo,  the 
Book  of  Wisdom,  and  other  works  of  that  era,  lead  to 
the  same  conclusion. 

The  author  is  certainly  a  Jew.  The  careful  descrip- 
tion of  the  Sabbath  and  the  festivals,  with  their  cere- 
monies and  rabbinical  observances,  and  the  heavenly 
authority  attributed  to  them,  could  have  emanated  from 
none  but  a  Hebrew  of  the  Hebrews.  To  the  same  con- 
clusion points  the  elevated  position  ascribed  to  the  nation 
of  Israel.  There  is  no  Christian  sentiment  or  opinion  in 
the  book,  not  even  a  reference  to  a  personal  Messiah.2 

1  See  Frankel,  Monatsschr.  v.  384  ff. ;  Beer,  Das  Buck.  d.  JuUL  and 
Noch  ein  Wort. 

2  Frankel  (Monatsschr.  v.  314)  has  detected  a  Christian  influence 
in  the  wording  of  some  passages  ;  but  the  examples  given  are  very 
far  from  being  decisive.     Thus  in  blessing  Judah,  Isaac  says  :  "  Be 
thou  lord,  thou  and  one  of  thy  sons,  over  the  sons  of  Jacob,"  where 
nothing  more  than  the  supremacy  of  Judah  is  necessarily  implied. 
"I  will  send  them  witnesses,"  says  the  Lord  to  Moses  (chap,  i.),  "and 
my  witnesses  they  will  slay."     Here,  it  is  said,  is  plainly  introduced 
the  Christian  word  ftxpTvpts,  where  a  Jew  would  have  written  "  pro- 


The  only  passage  that  can  be  supposed  to  have  a  Mes- 
sianic meaning  is  one  referring  to  Abraham's  seed 
(chap,  xvi.) :  "  From  him  would  come  the  plant  of 
righteousness  for  the  generation  of  eternity ;  from  him 
should  also  come  the  holy  seed  like  him  who  had  made 
all  things "  (Schodde).  But  this  is  too  vague  to  form 
the  basis  of  any  notion  of  Christian  feeling  in  our  book. 
Equally  free .  is  it  from  Alexandrian  philosophy.  The 
author  never  allegorises.  He  expands,  explains,  particu- 
larises the  scriptural  accounts,  but  does  not  see  in  them 
types  or  figures  of  moral  truths,  and  founds  on  them  no 
philosophical  speculations.  He  seems  to  stand  between 
the  apocryphal  writers  of  the  Old  Testament  and  the 
composers  of  those  pseudepigraphic  books  which  were 
produced  in  early  Christian  times,  as  the  Testaments  of 
the  Twelve  Patriarchs  and  the  Ascension  of  Isaiah.  The 
teaching  concerning  angels  and  demons  differs  consider- 
ably from  that  which  obtains,  e.g.,  in  the  Book  of  Enoch, 
and  appears  to  be  less  developed  and  complete.  From 
the  reverence  shown  to  the  number  seven  and  the 
marked  importance  attributed  to  the  feast  of  the  Sabbath, 
some  have  assigned  the  writer  to  the  sect  of  Essenes ; l 
but  the  grounds  of  this  opinion  are  of  little  weight,  more 
especially  as  there  is  no  mention  of  the  washings  and 
purifications  which  were  an  essential  feature  of  this  sect. 
Nor  can  the  writer  be  a  Samaritan,  for,  in  speaking  of 

phets,"  as  2  Chron.  xxxvi.  15,  16.  But  such  expressions  may  fairly 
be  laid  to  the  account  of  the  Ethiopian  translator.  Ronsch  has  en- 
deavoured to  show  that  the  author  levied  some  of  his  statements 
directly  against  Christian  practices  and  doctrines  :  his  arguments  are 
to  my  mind  inconclusive. 

1  See  Jellinek,  Bet  ha-Midrasch. 


the  four  places  favoured  by  God  in  all  the  earth,  he 
names  Eden,  Sinai,  Zion,  and  the  mountain  of  the  eastr 
but  not  Gerizim.  That  he  was  not  a  Sadducee  is  proved 
by  his  belief  in  angels  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul. 
We  must  be  satisfied  with  conjecturing  that  he  was  a 
Pharisee  of  the  dominant  type,  a  man  of  learning,  well 
read  in  Scripture,  well  acquainted  with  myth  and  legend, 
and  belonging  probably  to  the  body  of  scribes.  Many 
apocalyptic  writers  have,  with  more  or  less  fulness, 
narrated  the  history  of  the  Jewish  nation  from  the 
earliest  times  unto  their  own ;  but  the  method  pursued 
by  our  author  is,  as  far  as  we  know,  peculiar  to  himself,, 
and  can  have  been  invented  only  by  one  who  was  not 
merely  conversant  with  the  sacred  text  and  the  traditions 
connected  with  it,  oral  or  written,  but  was  capable  of 
taking  a  comprehensive  view  of  a  great  subject,  and  had 
the  desire  of  expressing  some  personal  views  of  his  own, 
and  of  effecting  important  reforms  in  the  observances  of 
his  co-religionists. 

The  form  of  the  book  is  peculiar.  Professing  to  give 
a  history  of  the  world  from  the  creation  to  the  settle- 
ment in  Canaan,  it  breaks  up  this  period  into  divisions 
of  Jubilees,  and  arranges  all  the  facts  narrated  in  the 
scriptural  accounts  into  these  segments  of  time.  In 
order  to  confer  on  his  new  matter  the  same  authority 
which  Scripture  possessed,  the  writer  introduces  Moses- 
as  receiving  this  revelation  of  past  and  future  from  an 
angel  of  the  Presence,  while  he  tarried  on  Mount  Sinai 
in  the  first  year  of  the  Exodus.  This  system  of  chron- 
ology is  supposed  to  be  a  direct  Apocalypse ;  it  had  not 
its  origin  in  the  days  of  Moses,  but  was  known  long 


before  to  the  patriarchs,  partly  by  tradition,  partly  by 
•direct  communication  from  God,  and  was  a  portion  of 
the  original  design  of  God  which  He  purposed  from  the 
creation.  So  the  jubilee-reckoning  is  a  heavenly  system : 
all  the  history  of  God's  people  falls  into  this  form,  and 
Moses  could  not  have  known  it  had  it  not  been  revealed 
to  him  by  the  Lord.  Thus  the  author  presents  his  work 
stamped  with  the  highest  sanction,  and  at  once  disarms 
prejudice  and  wins  assent  by  assuming  Divine  authority 
for  his  statements.  "  Moses  was  in  the  mount  forty 
days  and  forty  nights,  and  the  Lord  taught  him  of  the 
past  and  the  future ;  He  declared  unto  him  the  division 
of  the  days  and  the  law  and  the  testimony,  and  bade 
him  write  it  in  a  book,  that  his  posterity  might  know  it 
and  be  warned  against  breaking  the  commandments  of 
the  Lord.  And  the  Angel  of  the  Presence,  who  went 
before  the  camp  of  Israel,  wrote  out  the  revelation  for 
Moses,  and  took  the  heavenly  tables  which  contained  the 
account  of  jubilees  and  weeks  and  days  and  seasons,  and 
told  him  all  that  follows  "  (chap.  i.).  Thence  to  the  end 
of  the  book  we  have  history  poured  into  this  mould,  the 
earlier  part  being  made  consistent  by  transferring  to 
patriarchal  times  feasts  and  observances  of  later  date. 
The  events  are  treated  with  much  freedom,  and  illus- 
trated by  amplification  and  tradition,  so  that  the  whole 
deserves  the  appellation  which  has  been  affixed  to  it,  "  a 
Haggadistic  Commentary  on  the  Book  of  Genesis."  * 

We  proceed  to  give  some  specimens  of  the  treatment 
of   Biblical  stories  herein,  premising  that  many  of  the 
additions    and    explanations     may    be    found    in    other 
1  Dr.  Bissel  in  Lange's  Comment,  on  the  Apocrypha,  p.  670. 


apocryphal  works  as  well  as  in  the  Talmud  and  Midra- 
shim,  while  others  are  peculiar  to  the  author,  and  have  no 
existence  in  other  treatises.  We  will  for  a  moment  omit 
chronological  matters,  with  which  our  book  is  greatly 
concerned,  and  confine  our  attention  to  other  points. 
Some  have  hoped  to  find  herein  grounds  for  revision  of 
the  Hebrew  text  of  the  Pentateuch ;  and  certainly  there 
are  passages  which  seem  to  point  to  readings  that  differ 
from  the  received  wording.  But  in  the  absence  of  the 
original  text  such  indications  are  scarcely  reliable,  and 
nothing  of  importance  has  been  elicited  from  them. 
And  first,  with  regard  to  religious  observances  ;  with  the 
view  of  giving  indisputable  authority  to  Mosaic  ordin- 
ances, the  writer  refers  them  to  primitive  times  far 
removed  from  the  Sinaitic  incidents.  The  feast  of 
Pentecost  dates  from  the  covenants  made  by  God  with 
Noah  and  Abraham ;  the  feast  of  Tabernacles  was  first 
celebrated  by  Abraham  at  Beersheba,  and  further  solem- 
nised by  Jacob  after  his  vision  at  Bethel.  The  mourning 
on  the  Day  of  Atonement  commemorated  the  loss  of 
Joseph.  Other  matters  are  manipulated  in  a  similar 
manner.  Many  of  the  glosses  on  the  inspired  statements 
are  made  with  a  view  of  obviating  real  or  supposed 
difficulties.  Thus  concerning  the  speech  of  the  serpent, 
it  is  explained  that  in  Paradise  before  the  fall  all 
animals  spoke,  but  lost  their  power  in  consequence  of 
Adam's  sin  (chap.  iii.).  Cain  and  Seth  took  their  sisters 
as  wives ;  and  the  names  of  the  wives  of  all  the  chief 
patriarchs  are  carefully  given  as  if  from  traditional 
genealogies.  Adam's  death  at  seventy  years  short  of  a 
thousand  is  a  literal  fulfilment  of  the  curse,  Gen.  ii.  17, 


because  he  did  die  in  "  the  day "  in  which  he  ate  the 
forbidden  fruit,  one  day  being  with  the  Lord  as  a  thou- 
sand years  (chap,  iv.).1  The  angels  brought  the  animals 
to  the  ark  (chap.  v.).  Canaan,  contrary  to  the  advice  of 
his  father  and  his  brethren,  persisted  in  colonising  the 
land  of  Libanus  from  Hamath  to  the  river  of  Egypt ; 
and  when  Japhet  moved  westward,  his  son  Madai  dwelt 
in  the  Median  land — statements  made  to  account  for  the 
fact  that  descendants  of  Ham  and  Japhet  were  found  in 
the  Semitic  domain  (chap.  x.).  It  was  Satan  who  induced 
God  to  order  Abraham  to  sacrifice  his  son.  Rebecca 
loved  Jacob,  because  she  knew  that  Abraham  had  been 
warned  that  that  son  of  Isaac  should  be  specially 
favoured  by  God  (ch.  xvi.,  xix.) ;  and  it  was  in  the  time 
of  a  great  famine  that  Esau  sold  his  birthright  (chap, 
xxiv.).  Eeuben  escaped  the  punishment  due  to  his 
crime,  because  the  law  had  not  at  that  time  been  fully 
revealed  (chap,  xxxiii.).  Er  was  slain  because  he  would 
not  receive  the  wife  offered  him  by  his  father,  but  pre- 
ferred to  take  one  from  the  Canaanitish  relations  of  his 
mother  (chap.  xli.).  Judah's  ignorance  at  the  time  and 
subsequent  repentance  obtained  for  him  forgiveness  of 
his  sin  with  his  daughter-in-law  Tamar.  Moses  lay  for 
seven  days  in  the  ark,  during  which  time  his  mother 
came  and  suckled  him  by  night,  and  his  sister  watched 
him  by  day  to  defend  him  from  the  birds  (chap,  xlvii.). 
It  was  not  God,  but  the  arch-enemy,  Mastemah,  who 
hardened  the  hearts  of  the  Egyptians. 

1  The  same  explanation  is  given  by  Just.  Mart.  Dial.  c.  Tryph.  c. 
81,  cited  by  Dillm.  and  Ronsch,  who  have  noted  the  particulars 
mentioned  above. 


Sometimes  remarks  are  introduced  which  have  refer- 
ence to  earlier  or  later  passages,  and  are  intended  to  give 
a  completion  to  the  bare  fact  mentioned  in  the  sacred 
text.1  Of  this  nature  is  the  appearance  of  the  angels  to 
Abraham  and  Sarah  (chap,  xvi.),  in  fulfilment  of  the 
promise  in  Gen.  xviii.  14  ;  Jacob's  tithing  of  his  goods 
in  Bethel  (chap,  xxxii.),  according  to  his  vow  (Gen. 
xxviii.  22)  ;  his  purposing  to  build  a  sanctuary  there, 
from  which  he  was  dissuaded  by  the  angel  in  his  dream ; 
Jacob's  war  with  seven  Amorite  kings  (chap,  xxxiv.),  when 
he  obtained  the  portion  which  he  gave  to  Joseph  (Gen. 
xlviii.  22).2  The  difficulties  connected  with  the  names 
•and  number  of  the  members  of  Jacob's  family  that  came 
into  Egypt  are  not  materially  lightened  by  the  state- 
ments of  our  book,  which,  omitting  the  two  sons  of 
Pharez  and  of  Beriah  (Gen.  xlvi.  12,  17),  adds  in  their 
place  four  sons  of  Dan  and  one  of  Naphtali,  all  of  whom 
•died  prematurely  in  Egypt,  and  makes  Dinah  to  have 
met  her  death  in  the  land  of  Canaan  before  the  removal 
{chap.  xliv.). 

As  additions  to  the  inspired  account  may  be  mentioned 
such  particulars  as  these :  Adam  took  five  days  to  name 
all  the  animals  which  came  unto  him,  and  having  seen 
them  all,  found  none  like  himself,  which  could  be  a  help- 
mate for  him  (chap,  iii.) ;  as  soon  as  Eve  had  eaten  of  the 
fruit,  she  was  ashamed,  and  made  herself  a  garment  of 
fig  leaves ;  Adam  was  seven  years  in  the  garden  of  Eden, 

1  I  avail  myself  here  of  the  references  in  Ronsch,  p.  495,  and 
Jahrb.  iii.  p.  79. 

2  This  war  is  mentioned  in  the  Test,  of  the  Twelve  Patr.  (Test. 
Jud.).     A  different  account  is  given  in  Josh.  xxiv.  32. 


where  he  guarded  the  ground  from  birds  and  beasts, 
collected  and  stored  the  fruits,  "  dressed  and  kept  it ; "  in 
the  days  of  Jared  the  angels  came  down  to  earth  to  teach 
men  righteousness  (chap,  iv.);  Adam  was  the  first  who  was 
buried  in  the  earth ;  Cain  met  with  his  death  by  the  fall 
of  his  house,  a  just  retribution,  that  he  who  had  slain 
his  brother  with  a  stone  should  himself  be  killed  by  a 
stone  ;  the  three  sons  of  Noah  built  three  towns  on 
Mount  Lubar,  the  part  of  Ararat  on  which  the  ark 
grounded,  and  where  Noah  was  afterwards  buried  (chap, 
vii.).  To  these  may  be  added  the  prolix  account  of 
Noah's  distribution  of  the  earth  among  his  sons,  and  the 
curse  laid  on  either  who  sought  to  take  any  portion 
which  had  not  fallen  to  his  share  (chap,  ix.)  ;  the  statement 
about  the  position  of  the  Tower  of  Babel,  that  it  stood 
between  the  territory  of  Assyria  and  Babylon  in  the  land 
of  Shinar,  and  that  the  asphalt  used  in  its  construction 
was  brought  from  the  sea  and  the  springs  in  Shinar ;  the 
explanation  of  the  selection  of  Levi  for  the  priesthood  by 
the  principle  of  taking  the  tithe  for  God's  use,  Jacob 
counting  upwards  from  Benjamin  and  thus  reckoning 
Levi  as  the  tenth ;  Jacob's  wrath  at  the  deception 
practised  on  him  in  the  matter  of  Leah  and  his  angry 
speech  to  Laban,  "  Take  thy  daughter  and  let  me  be 
gone,  for  thou  hast  dealt  ill  with  me ; "  Joseph's  observa- 
tion of  his  brethren's  return  to  better  feeling  before  he 
made  himself  known  to  them ;  the  war  between  the 
kings  of  Canaan  and  Egypt,  which  was  the  reason  of 
Joseph's  interment  in  the  Holy  Land  being  postponed 
till  the  Exodus.  We  have  also  an  intercalation  between 
vers.  1  and  2  of  Gen.  xlvi.,  showing  how  Jacob,  fearing 



to  go  down  into  Egypt,  waited  patiently  for  a  vision, 
and  on  the  seventh  day  of  the  third  month  celebrated 
the  feast  of  harvest ;  and  a  long  addition  between  vers. 
27  and  28  of  Gen.  xxxv.,  containing  Rebecca's  advice  to 
Jacob,  and  her  exacting  an  oath  from  Esau  not  to  injure 
his  brother,  and  many  other  particulars,  including  Leah's 
death  and  burial.  Here  may  be  mentioned  Jacob's  war 
with  the  Amorite  kings,  which  is  also  recorded  in  the 
Testaments  of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs  (Testam.  Jud.). 
The  identification  of  some  of  the  names  of  the  cities  of 
these  kings  is  very  difficult.  The  first  is  Thapha  (Tapho, 
Lat.),  which  is  probably  Tappuah  (Josh.  xii.  17);  the 
second,  Aresa  (Arco,  Lat.)  ;  the  third,  Saragan,  cannot  be 
identified ;  the  fourth,  Selo  (Silo,  Lat.},  is  doubtless 
Shiloh ;  and  the  fifth,  Gaiz  (Gaas,  Lat.),  is  the  Gaash  of 
Judg.  ii.  9.  The  Amorites  combined  against  Jacob  to 
rob  him  of  his  cattle  and  to  destroy  him  and  his  family  ; 
and  the  patriarch,  with  his  three  sons,  Levi,  Judah,  and 
Joseph,  went  out  against  them,  slew  the  five  kings,  and 
made  the  people  tributary.  So  again  the  account  of 
Enoch  is  much  enlarged,  and  gives  evident  proof  of 
reference  to  the  Book  of  Enoch,  so  called.  "  He  was  the 
first  of  men  who  taught  learning  and  wisdom ;  he  wrote 
in  a  book  the  signs  of  heaven  according  to  the  order  of 
the  months  ;  he  bare  testimony  to  the  generations  of 
men,  showed  them  the  weeks  of  the  jubilees,  and  the 
days  of  the  years,  and  the  sabbatical  year.  In  his  visions 
he  saw  the  past  and  the  future,  how  it  should  happen  to 
the  sons  of  men  until  the  day  of  judgment,  and  wrote  it 
all  in  a  book.  After  the  birth  of  Methuselah  he  was  for 
six  years  with  the  angels,  who  instructed  him  in  heavenly 


and  earthly  lore,  which  he  transcribed  at  their  dictation. 
He  bore  testimony  against  the  angels  who  had  sinned 
with  the  daughters  of  men.  And  for  his  reward  he  was 
taken  away  from  among  the  sons  of  men,  and  carried  by 
angels  into  the  garden  of  Eden,  where  he  learned  the 
judgment  and  the  eternal  punishment  of  sinners,  and 
wrote  it  all  in  a  book."  This  is  indeed  a  fairly  complete 
account  of  the  contents  of  the  Book  of  Enoch  as 
known  to  us.  Sometimes  the  speeches  of  the  actors  in 
the  Biblical  drama  are  altered  and  lengthened.  Thus 
Gen.  xliv.  9  becomes :  "  he  shall  die,  and  we  with  our 
asses  will  become  servants  of  thy  lord  ; "  ver.  10:"  Not 
so ;  the  man  with  whom  I  find  it  I  will  take  as  servant ; 
but  ye,  go  home  in  peace  ; "  ver.  1 5  (in  order  to  eliminate 
the  idea  of  divination) :  "  Know  ye  not  that  such  a  man 
as  I,  who  drink  from  this  cup,  dearly  loves  his  cup  ? "  and 
ver.  20,  instead  of  "his  brother  is  dead,"  "one  is  gone 
and  was  lost,  so  that  we  have*  never  found  him  again." 

Under  the  same  category  come  the  names  of  the 
wives  of  the  patriarchs  from  Adam  to  Terah,  and  those 
of  the  sons  of  Jacob  (whence  these  details  are  derived  is 
wholly  unknown) ;  the  number  of  Adam's  sons,  who 
seem  to  have  been  twelve  in  all ;  the  four  sacred  spots 
in  the  earth,  Eden,  the  mountain  of  the  East  (probably 
Lubar),1  Sinai,  and  Zion ;  the  inscription  found  by 
Canaan,  son  of  Arphaxad,  containing  astronomical  lore 
taught  to  the  forefathers  by  the  angels  (chap,  viii.);2  the 

1  See  the  identity  of  this  mountain  discussed  by  Konsch,  pp.  504  if. 
If  this  mountain  be  the  peak  of  Ararat,  then  the  four  holy  places 
correspond  respectively  to  Adam,  Noah,  Moses,  and  David. 

2  Comp.  Joseph.  Antiq.  i.  2.  3. 


division  of  the  earth  by  lot  among  the  sons  of  Noah ;  the 
mention  of*  the  forty-three  years  consumed  in  the  building 
of  the  Tower,  with  the  avowed  intention  of  thereby 
ascending  to  heaven  (chap,  x.) ;  the  beginning  of  war 
and  the  practice  of  slavery  among  the  sons  of  Noah ; 
the  introduction  of  idolatry  by  Ur,  who  built  a  town 
which  he  called  after  his  father  Kesed  (chap,  xi.) ; l 
Jacob's  yearly  presents  to  his  father  and  mother  after 
his  return  from  Mesopotamia  ;  the  assertion  that  Zebulon 
and  Dinah  were  twins,  that  Zilpah  and  Bilhah  were  sisters 
(chap,  xxviii.) ;  the  dream  of  Levi  about  his  future 
priesthood  (chap,  xxxii.) ;  the  death  of  Bilhah  and  Dinah 
for  grief  at  the  loss  of  Joseph  (chap,  xxxiv.) ;  the  war 
which,  at  the  instigation  of  his  sons,  Esau  makes  with 
Jacob  after  Isaac's  death,  and  wherein  he  himself  falls 
by  his  brother's  hand,  and  his  forces  are  defeated  and 
slain  (chaps,  xxxvii.,  xxxviii.);  the  failure  in  the  annual 
rise  of  the  Nile,  which  was  the  cause  of  the  famine  in 
Egypt ;  the  hostilities  between  the  Egyptians  and  the 
Oanaanites,  during  which  the  remains  of  the  other  sons 
of  Jacob,  except  Joseph,  were  taken  into  Canaan  and 
buried  in  the  cave  of  Machpelah  on  Mount  Hebron ; 2 
the  lingering  of  some  of  the  Jews  in  Canaan  after  this 
business  of  sepulture,  and  among  them,  Amram,  who 

1  Here  doubtless  is  an  attempt  at  accounting  for  the  name  "  Ur  of 
the  Chaldees,"  Gen.  xi.  28. 

2  In  Acts  vii.  16,  St.  Stephen  says  the  patriarchs  were  buried  at 
Sychem,  and  Jerome  affirms  (Ep.   86)  that  their  sepulchres  were 
shown  there  in  his  day.     Josephus,  Antiq.  ii.  8.  2,  agrees  with  our 
book  ;  but  in  Bell.  Jud.  iv.  8.  7  introduces  the  same  story  with 
Xtyovj/.     Perhaps  some  jealous  feeling  against  Samaria  may  have 
led  to  the  alteration  of  the  locality  in  popular  tradition. 


returned  to  Egypt  shortly  before  Moses'  birth  (chaps, 
xlvi.,  xlvii.) ;  the  name  of  Pharaoh's  daughter,  Tharmuth 
(Lat.  Termot) ;  the  order  for  the  drowning  of  the 
Israelites'  children  executed  for  seven  months  only ; 
Hoses'  instruction  for  twenty-one  years  by  his  father 
Arnram,  and  his  residence  at  Pharaoh's  court  for  the 
same  period ;  the  binding  of  the  evil  spirit  from  the 
fourteenth  to  the  eighteenth  day,  to  give  the  Israelites 
time  to  escape  from  Egypt  (chap,  xlviii.). 

We  have  mentioned  the  introduction  of  the  names  of 
persons  who  are  not  specially  designated  in  Scripture. 
Names  are  also  affixed  to  places,  rivers,  etc.,  which  are 
elsewhere  not  denned,  or  are  called  differently.  Thus 
Shem's  possession  extends  from  the  mountain  Eafu 
(Ilhiphsei  M.),  where  the  river  Tona  (Tanais)  flows,  to 
the  sea  Miot  (Pal.  Mreotis)  and  Karaso  (Chersonese). 
Adam's  second  place  of  abode  is  the  land  Eldad.  Ham 
claims  territory  up  to  the  fiery  mountains,  and  westerly 
unto  the  sea  Atil  (Atlantic)  and  "  the  end  at  Gadith  " 
(Gades).  To  Japhet  appertains  the  district  of  Lag 
(Liguria),  the  mountain  of  Kilt  (Kelts),  the  country  to 
the  west  of  Para  (?),  opposite  to  Apherag  (Africa),  and  to 
his  son  Ijoajon  (Javar)  the  land  Adlud  (Italy)  and  the 
neighbouring  islands.  Then  Jacob  after  his  return  dwells 
at  Akrabit ;  Eachel  bears  her  son  Benjamin  in  Kebrathan 
(Gen.  xxxv.  16,  Sept.).  The  Amorites  build  two  towns, 
Kobel  and  Thamuathares ;  the  king  of  Canaan  pursues 
the  Egyptians  up  to  the  walls  of  Eromon  (Heroopolis). 

The  legendary  lore  connected  with  Abraham  is  a  study 
in  itself.  Many  of  the  following  Sagas  are  found  in  the 
Targum  and  elsewhere ;  but  the  labour  of  identifying 


them  or  tracing  them  to  their  sources  is,  for  Bible 
students,  more  curious  than  profitable.  The  child  Abram 
was,  from  very  early  years,  filled  with  loathing  for  the 
vices  of  those  among  whom  he  lived.  When  only  four- 
teen, he  separated  himself  from  his  father,  refusing  to 
worship  his  idols,  and  praying  to  the  great  Creator  to 
save  him  from  being  led  astray  by  the  evil  practices  of 
his  countrymen.  At  his  command  the  ravens  refrained 
from  devouring  the  seed  that  was  sown  in  the  fields  ; 
more  than  this,  he  invented  a  kind  of  drill,  which  was 
attached  to  the  plough,  and  covered  up  the  seeds  as  they 
were  sown.  As  he  grew  older,  he  spoke  seriously  to  his 
father  about  the  folly  and  wickedness  of  worshipping 
idols ;  and  Terah  assented  to  his  words,  but  dared  not 
openly  avow  his  sentiments  for  fear  of  his  relations,  who 
would  slay  without  scruple  all  who  opposed  the  prevailing 
religion.  But  when  he  was  sixty  years  old,  Abram  could 
endure  it  no  longer,  and  set  fire  to  the  temple  by  night ; 
and  Haran,  his  brother,  perished  *  in  the  attempt  to  save 
the  idols.  Upon  this,  Terah  and  his  family  removed  to 
Charran,2  where  they  remained  fourteen  years.  Here 
Abram  learns  the  futility  of  astrology,  shows  entire 
dependence  upon  God,  prays  for  deliverance  from  evil 
spirits  who  lead  men's  hearts  astray,  and  is  told  by  an 
angel  not  to  return  to  Ur,  but  to  leave  his  father's  house, 
and  to  travel  to  Canaan.  During  his  life  he  was  subject 
to  ten  great  trials  or  temptations  : 3 — 1.  The  departure 

1  Gen.  xi.  28. 

2  This  is  the  first  call,  Acts  vii.  2-4  ;  Gen.  xi.  31. 

3  These  are  variously  given  in  rabbinical  tradition.     See  Ronsch, 
pp.  382  ff.     Only  the  tenth  is  actually  numbered  in  "  Jubilees." 


from  his  native  land.  2.  The  famine  which  occasioned 
his  retreat  to  Egypt.  3.  The  abduction  of  his  wife. 
4.  The  war  with  the  kings.  5.  The  painful  rite  of 
circumcision.  6.  The  dismissal  of  Ishmael.  7.  The 
expulsion  of  Hagar.  8.  The  sterility  of  Sarah.  9.  The 
offering  of  Isaac.  10.  The  death  and  burial  of  Sarah. 
It  is  said  that  while  the  descendants  of  Noah  down  to 
Abraham's  time  violated  the  command  not  to  eat  blood, 
Abraham  strictly  observed  it,  and  taught  it  to  his  posterity. 
Variations  from  the  received  ritual  observed  in  the 
celebration  of  festivals  sometimes  occur  in  our  book. 
The  beginnings  of  the  first,  fourth,  seventh,  and  tenth 
months  are  to  be  observed  as  feasts,  as  they  had  already 
been  observed  by  Noah.  In  the  case  of  the  feast  of 
Tabernacles,  no  mention  is  made  of  the  custom  of  draw- 
ing water  from  the  pool  of  Siloam,  and  pouring  it  out 
solemnly  at  the  altar,  to  which  our  Lord  is  supposed  to 
allude  in  John  vii.  37,  38.  The  omission  may  possibly  be 
intended  to  befriend  the  Sadducees,  who  made  the  practice 
a  subject  of  contention  with  the  Pharisees,  urging  that  it 
was  never  formally  ordained  by  Moses,  and  therefore  ought 
not  to  be  observed.1  Not,  as  already  remarked,  that  the 
author  was  a  Sadducee,  but  he  may  have  wished  to  write 
in  a  conciliatory  spirit,  and  not  unnecessarily  to  obtrude 
points  of  difference.  Other  omissions  are  the  injunction 
of  fasting  on  the  Day  of  Atonement,  the  exclusion  of  the 
uncircumcised  from  the  Passover,  and  the  appointment  of 
Pentecost  about  the  middle  of  the  third  month  without 
specially  naming  the  day.  The  time  for  the  observance 
of  the  Passover  is  thus  ordained  :  "  The  children  of  Israel 
1  See  the  authorities,  ap.  Ronsch,  p.  514. 


shall  keep  the  Passover  on  its  appointed  day,  the  four- 
teenth day  of  the  first  month,  between  evenings,  in  the 
third  part  of  the  day  unto  the  third  part  of  the  night ; 
for  two  parts  of  the  day  are  given  to  the  light,  and  the 
third  to  night.  This  is  that  which  the  Lord  hath  com- 
manded, that  thou  shouldst  do  it  between  evenings. 
And  it  shall  not  be  done  (sacrificed)  in  the  morning,  at 
any  hour  of  the  light,  but  in  the  confines  of  the  evening. 
And  ye  shall  eat  it  in  the  evening  unto  the  third  part  of 
the  night,  and  what  remains  after  the  third  part  of  the 
night  shall  be  burned  with  fire."  The  author  divides  the 
day  and  the  night  into  three  parts  each ;  his  "  evening  " 
consists  of  the  third  part  of  the  day  and  the  first  two 
parts  of  night,  his  "  morning  "  of  the  last  part  of  the  night 
and  the  first  two  parts  of  the  day.  The  whole  ceremony 
connected  with  the  lamb  must  take  place  within  the  limits 
of  the  "  evening  "  thus  defined ;  it  must  be  killed  in  the 
last  third  of  the  day,  and  eaten  within  the  first  two  parts 
of  the  night,  or,  as  he  puts  it,  "  unto  the  third  part  of  the 
night,"  i.e.  exclusive.1  This  interpretation  of  the  phraser 
"  between  the  two  evenings,"  Ex.  xii.  6,  and  the  other 
directions,  express  the  practice  which  obtained  in  the 
writer's  time,  and  offer  a  possible  solution  of  what  has 
always  been  a  subject  of  dispute. 

Explanations  of  the  meaning  of  names  are  sometimes 
given.2  Thus  Eden  is  interpreted  pleasure,  which  re- 
minds one  of  the  LXX.  TrapdSeio-os  rijs  rpv^ijs,  Para- 
disus  voluptatis,  Vulg.  Sala  (son  of  Cainan)  is  dismissal ; 

1  Kriiger,  Die  Chronol  im  B.  d.  Jub.  p.  298. 

2  These  examples  are  collected  by  Rdnsch,  pp.  496  ff.,  and  Frankel, 
Monatssclir.  v.  pp.  380  ff. 


modern  authorities  make  it  to  signify  extension.  Phalek 
is  division,  "  for  in  his  days  the  sons  of  Noah  began  to 
divide  the  earth."  Eagev  (=  Eeu  or  Eagau)  is  so  named 
"  because  the  sons  of  men  have  become  evil "  (chap.  x.). 
Seruch  refers  to  his  turning  away  in  order  to  commit 
wickedness  (chap.  xi.).  Ur  Kasdim  takes  its  appellation 
from  its  founder  Ur,  and  his  father  Kesed  (chap.  xi.). 
Tharah  (Terah),  son  of  Nakhor  (Nahor),  was  so  called  by 
his  father  "  because  the  birds  stole  and  devoured  the 
seeds  sown  in  the  fields." 

Corrections  of  passages  in  the  inspired  narrative  mis- 
understood, or  liable  to  be  misinterpreted,  are  offered, 
and  supposed  omissions  or  gaps  are  supplied  from  other 
sources.  Some  of  these  intercalations  have  been  given 
above.  The  following  are  a  few  further  examples.  On 
the  day  that  Adam  fell,  the  mouths  of  all  animals  were 
closed,  and  they  spoke  no  more  as  heretofore ;  our  first 
parents  were  clothed  in  order  to  show  their  superiority 
to  the  beasts  of  the  earth,  and  the  directions  concerning 
apparel  were  given  to  the  Israelites  to  differentiate  them 
from  the  heathen ;  the  gradual  deterioration  of  men  was 
induced  by  the  efforts  of  evil  demons,  who,  until  checked 
by  God's  interference,  exercised  terrible  power  upon 
earth ;  Noah's  sons  were  saved,  not  for  their  own,  but 
for  their  father's  sake ;  the  blessing  of  Shem  (Gen.  ix. 
26,  27)  was,  "Blessed  be  the  Lord  God  of  Shem,  and 
may  the  Lord  dwell  in  his  habitations;"  it  was  at  a 
religious  festival  that  Noah  drank  wine ;  Terah  abode  in 
Charran  when  Abram  left  his  home,  but  prayed  his  son 
to  come  and  fetch  him  when  he  was  settled  in  his  new 
abode ;  Hagar  died  before  Sarah,  and  it  was  after  the 


death  of  both  that  Abraham  married  Keturah ;  before 
his  death  Abraham  summoned  Ishmael  and  his  twelve 
sons,  Isaac  and  his  two  sons,  and  the  six  sons  of  Keturah 
with  their  children,  and  gave  them  a  solemn  charge  to 
cultivate  purity  and  righteousness,  and  to  live  at  peace 
with  each  other ;  Judah  and  Levi  remained  at  home  with 
their  father  (while  the  other  sons  were  sent  forth  to  tend 
the  herds),  and  received  special  blessings  and  prerogatives 
from  Isaac ;  for  his  action  against  the  Shechemites,  Levi 
was  highly  honoured,  and  his  posterity  was  elected  to  the 
everlasting  priesthood  ;  Joseph  withstood  the  solicitations 
of  Potiphar's  wife  for  a  full  year,  being  then  seventeen 
years  old ;  he  was  beloved  by  all  the  courtiers,  because 
he  was  perfectly  upright  and  fair,  took  no  bribes,  and 
behaved  with  affability  to  all ;  Jacob  his  father  gave  him 
two  portions  in  the  land  of  Canaan,  and  thenceforward 
Joseph  lived  in  peace,  and  nothing  evil  happened  to  him 
till  the  day  of  his  death. 

In  the  chronology  of  our  book  many  points  are  note- 
worthy. We  have  the  formal  announcement :  "  These 
are  the  words  of  the  division  of  the  days,  according  to 
the  law  and  the  testimony,  according  to  the  events  of  the 
years  in  sabbatical  years  and  in  jubilees."  The  Flood 
occurs  A.M.  1353  ;  and  from  the  Creation  to  the  Exodus, 
the  period  comprised  in  the  work,  the  author  reckons 
forty -nine  jubilees,  one  year -week,  and  two  years,  i.e. 
2410  years,  and  makes  the  passage  of  the  Jordan  to 
occur  A.M.  2450.  This  date  is  composed  exactly  of  fifty 
jubilees  of  forty-nine  years  each,  and  allows  a  new  jubilee 
period  to  commence  with  the  entrance  into  the  promised 
land.  Then  his  year  consists  of  fifty  -  two  weeks,  i.e. 


364  days.  "The  sun,"  he  says,  "was  made  for  a  great 
sign  upon  the  earth  to  regulate  days,  and  sabbaths,  and 
years,  and  jubilees,  and  all  seasons  "  (chap,  ii.)  ;  "  but  the 
moon  confuses  and  mars  the  order,  and  comes  every 
year  ten  days  in  advance  "  (chap,  vi.) ;  and  the  only  way 
of  preventing  confusion  and  error  in  the  whole  system  of 
feasts,  is  to  make  the  year  number  364  days.  Taking  for 
granted  that  a  new  jubilee  began  at  the  entrance  of  the 
Israelites  into  Canaan,  he  had  to  arrange  his  chronology 
accordingly,  and  he  therefore  reckons,  as  we  have  said, 
fifty  jubilees  of  forty-nine  years  each  to  the  close  of  the 
wanderings  in  the  desert.  In  very  many  particulars  he 
agrees  entirely  with  the  Masoretic  texts  of  Genesis  and 
Exodus,  but  he  takes  liberties  or  follows  a  different  read- 
ing in  other  passages.  To  give  a  few  examples : — Jared 
was  sixty-two  years  old  when  he  begat  Enoch,  the  present 
Hebrew  text  giving  his  age  as  one  hundred  and  sixty- 
two  ;  Methuselah's  son  Lamech  was  born  when  his  father 
was  sixty-seven  (187,  Heb.);  Lamech  was  fifty-three (18 2, 
Heb.)  when  he  begat  Noah.  These  details  are  supported 
partly  by  the  Septuagint,  partly  by  the  Samaritan  Penta- 
teuch. But  in  enumerating  the  post-diluvian  patriarchs, 
the  author  is  greatly  at  variance  with  existing  authorities. 
Arphaxad  begets  Cainan  seventy-four  years  after  the 
Flood ; l  Cainan  begets  Salah  in  his  fifty-seventh  year ; 
Salah  begets  Eber  in  his  sixty-seventh ;  Eber,  Peleg  in 

J  The  introduction  of  Cainan  between  Arphaxad  and  Salah  is 
authorised  by  the  LXX.,  but  the  chronology  is  different.  Those 
who  desire  to  enter  further  into  the  chronology  of  the  Jubilees  will 
find  help  in  Dillmann,  and  in  Zeitschrift  der  Deutsch.  morgenl.  Gesell- 
schaftj  1858,  pp.  279  if.,  only  rejecting  the  writer's  unwarrantable  con- 
elusion  that  the  book  was  written  some  three  hundred  years  B.C. 


his  sixty-eighth ;  Peleg,  Eeu  in  his  sixty-first ;  Serug, 
Nahor  in  the  116th  year  after  the  birth  of  Eeu;  Nahorr 
Terah  in  his  sixty-second  year.  All  these  numbers 
differ  from  those  in  the  Hebrew  and  the  Septuagint. 
On  the  question  of  the  "  four  hundred  and  thirty  years," 
in  Ex.  xii.  40,  the  Jubilee  Book  would  seem  to  agree 
with  the  LXX.  in  reading  "  in  the  land  of  Egypt  and  in 
the  land  of  Canaan ; "  for  the  date  of  Isaac's  birth  is 
fixed  A.M.  1980,  i.e.  430  years  before  the  Exodus,  and 
thus  the  reckoning  includes  the  sojourn  in  Canaan ;  but 
it  dates  the  arrival  of  Jacob  in  Egypt  at  A.M.  2172,  thus 
making  the  residence  of  the  Israelites  in  that  country 
last  for  two  hundred  and  thirty- eight  years.  The 
arrangement  of  the  years  of  Moses'  life  is  not  altogether 
in  accordance  with  Scripture.  He  is  born  A.M.  2330,  is 
introduced  at  the  king's  court  at  the  age  of  twenty-one, 
kills  the  Egyptian  and  flees  when  he  is  forty-two,  and 
remains  in  Midian  for  thirty-six  years.  Joseph's  birth 
is  set  A.M.  2134,  he  is  sold  when  seventeen  years  old, 
was  a  slave  for  ten  and  in  prison  for  three  years,  and 
held  supremacy  in  Egypt  for  eighty  years,  dying  at  the 
age  of  110,  "in  the  second  year  of  the  sixth  week  (year- 
week)  of  the  forty-sixth  jubilee,"  A.D.  2242.  This 
would  make  him  only  108  years  old  at  his  death.  There 
are  very  many  other  passages  where  the  dates  given  do 
not  harmonise  with  preceding  or  succeeding  statements. 
Some  of  these  miscalculations  are  doubtless  ascribable  to 
clerical  errors  in  MSS.,  some  are  corrected  in  the  old 
Latin  versions,  but  a  great  number  of  deviations  remain 
which  can  only  be  explained  by  carelessness  in  the 
translator,  or  lapse  of  memory  in  the  writer.  Abraham 


is  born  A.M.  1876;  he  dies  at  the  age  of  175,  "in  the 
first  week  of  the  forty-fourth  jubilee,  in  the  second 
year,"  i.e.  A.M.  2109,  which  is  quite  wrong,  and  would 
make  him  233  years  old  at  his  death.  And  if,  as 
Dillmann  proposes,  we  read  "  the  forty-third  jubilee,"  we 
shall  set  his  decease  in  A.M.  2060,  which  is  still  nearly 
ten  years  wrong  according  to  the  jubilee  date  of  his 
birth.  Such  manifest  mistakes  we  should  be  inclined  to 
attribute  to  the  scribe  or  the  translator,  rather  than  to 
the  author  himself.  His  plan,  indeed,  required  great 
skill  and  precision.  Starting  from  the  principle  that  the 
period  from  the  creation  to  the  entrance  into  Canaan 
consisted  of  fifty  jubilees  of  forty-nine  years  each,  and 
being  dominated  by  the  idea  of  the  sacredness  and  pre- 
ponderance of  the  number  seven,  he  had  to  fit  events 
into  their  proper  place  in  this  septenary  system.  And 
certainly,  if  we  consider  the  use  of  numbers  in  Holy 
Scripture  and  the  mystery  which  attaches  to  them,  we 
cannot  but  allow  the  importance  of  the  number  seven. 
In  his  zeal,  however,  for  the  use  of  this  number,  our 
author  sometimes  introduces  it  where  Scripture  is  silent, 
sometimes  for  this  purpose  even  alters  the  wording  of 
his  text.  Thus  he  affirms  that  God  opened  seven  sluices 
in  heaven  to  produce  the  Flood,  and  that  Benjamin's 
mess  was  seven  times  as  'great  as  his  brethren's.  But 
other  considerations  lead  us  to  think  that  there  is  a 
significance  in  the  scriptural  employment  of  this  number 
which  is  not  to  be  disregarded.  Its  continual  recurrence 
in  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John  confirms  this  view.  It  is 
the  number  of  forgiveness,  of  covenant,  of  holiness,  per- 
fection, and  rest.  The  idea  of  rest,  of  course,  meets  us 


at  the  close  of  the  work  of  creation ;  but  there  are  many 
other  instances  of  a  similar  use.  Enoch,  the  seventh 
from  Adam,  never  tasted  death,  but  was  translated  and 
entered  into  his  rest ;  six  times  seven  stations  brought 
the  Israelites  to  the  promised  land ;  on  the  seventh 
day  the  walls  of  Jericho  fell  down,  and  the  people  took 
possession  of  the  city,  after  they  had  marched  round  it 
seven  times  with  seven  priests  blowing  seven  trumpets. 
I  need  here  hardly  mention  the  sabbatical  year  and  the 
year  of  jubilee,  by  the  former  of  which  the  soil  obtained 
a  period  of  rest  after  being  cropped  for  six  successive 
years,  and  by  the  latter  the  state,  the  body  politic,  had 
its  rest  and  sanctification,  for  then  estates  returned  to 
their  original  possessors,  and  slaves  were  manumitted. 
All  the  feasts  were  more  or  less  connected  with  the 
sabbatical  system.  The  Passover  and  the  feast  of 
Tabernacles  lasted  each  of  them  seven  days  ;  seven  weeks 
after  the  Passover  came  Pentecost ;  the  great  Day  of 
Atonement  occurred  in  the  seventh  month  of  the  year, 
itself  a  sacred  month ;  the  days  of  holy  convocation  were 
seven.  Further,  the  blood  of  propitiation  was  sprinkled 
seven  times  before  the  mercy-seat ;  seven  were  the  pieces 
of  furniture  pertaining  to  the  tabernacle ;  seven  were 
the  branches  of  the  sacred  candlestick.1 

With  such  grounds  for  giving  considerable  importance 
to  the  number  seven,  our  author  with  great  skill  reduced 
his  historical  facts  to  these  dimensions ;  and  it  is  not 
unlikely  that  many  errors  have  crept  into  the  present 

1  Some  of  the  above  remarks  concerning  the  number  seven  are 
quoted  from  an  article  contributed  by  me  some  years  ago  to  a  now 
forgotten  Review. 


text  from  the  scribes'  or  translators'  neglect  of  this 
principle,  and  that  many  difficulties  might  be  removed 
by  the  restoration  of  the  septenary  reckoning  where  it 
seems  to  be  neglected.  Where  the  chief  dates,  the 
epochs  assigned  to  leading  events,  are  not  divisible  by 
seven,  we  may  reasonably  conclude  that  there  is  some 
error  in  our  versions  which  did  not  exist  in  the  original, 
or  that  some  passages  have  perished  which  would  have 
introduced  consistency  in  statements  now  incomplete  or 
contradictory.  The  intended  precision  in  the  text,  which 
to  some  events  assigns  not  only  the  year,  but  even  the 
month  and  the  day,  is  attained  by  a  comparison  of  the 
various  dates  afforded  by  the  Hebrew,  by  arbitrary 
alterations,  by  rabbinical  glosses,  and  by  the  introduction 
of  later  holy  days  and  seasons  into  these  earlier  times. 
Many  of  the  dates  thus  obtained  are  interesting.  Thus 
the  Fall  takes  place  on  the  seventeenth  day  of  the  second 
month  in  the  year  8  ;  Abel  offers  his  sacrifice  in  his 
twenty-second  year  at  the  full  moon  of  the  seventh 
month  —  the  feast  of  Tabernacles,  A.M.  99  ;  Noah  is 
born  A.M.  £09,  and  dies  at  the  age  of  950,  A.M.  1659, 
having  observed  the  feast  of  Weeks  for  350  years,  and 
being  contemporary  with  Adam  for  more  than  200  years. 
The  sons  of  Noah  were  born  thus: — Shem  in  1207, 
Ham  in  1209,  and  Japhet  in  12 12, and  the  Flood  began 
in  1308  ;  Noah  divides  the  earth  among  his  three  sons 
in  1569  ;  the  tower  of  Babel  was  begun  in  the  fourth 
week  of  the  thirty-fourth  jubilee  =1645  A.M.,  and  the 
construction  was  stopped  forty-three  years  afterwards. 
Abram  leaves  Egypt  in  1961,  when  Tanis  was  built,  and 
receives  the  covenant  of  circumcision  on  the  feast  of 


First-fruits  in  1979  ;  Isaac  is  born  on  the  same  festival 
in  the  following  year ;  he  marries  Eebecca  in  the  same 
year  that  his  father  married  Keturah ;  Abraham  before 
he  dies  (A.M.  2060),  blesses  and  instructs  Jacob.  Jacob 
is  sixty-eight  years  old  when  he  is  sent  away  to  Mesopo- 
tamia, A.M.  2114.  Isaac  dies  (A.M.  2162)  in  the  same 
year  that  Joseph,  being  then  of  the  age  of  thirty,  is 
raised  to  be  next  to  King  Pharaoh.  The  birth  of  Pharez 
and  Zarah  coincides  with  the  end  of  the  seven  years  of 
plenty  in  Egypt. 

In  the  above  chronological  arrangements  there  are 
many  inconsistencies  and  inaccuracies  which  are  easy  to 
point  out ;  but  the  labour  is  hardly  profitable,  as  the 
dates  have  been  quoted  merely  to  give  a  notion  of  the 
treatment  employed  which  satisfied  the  author's  require- 
ments, and  not  with  any  idea  of  effecting  an  improvement 
in  the  received  chronology,  faulty  and  deceptive  as  it 
undoubtedly  is.  The  subject  has  been  taken  in  hand  by 
Kriiger  (in  .  Zeitschrift  der  Deutsch.  morgenl.  Gesellschaft, 
1858),  who  has  examined  most  of  the  chronological 
statements  in  the  book,  showing  their  various  inconsist- 
encies and  correcting  errors  where  possible. 
.  There  are  passages  relating  to  events  then  future, 
sometimes  not  told  in  prophetic  character.  Thus  it  is 
said  (chap,  xxxviii.)  :  "  There  were  kings  who  reigned  over 
Edom,  before  that  a  king  reigned  over  the  children  of 
Israel,  even  unto  this  day.  There  was  a  king  in  Edom, 
Balak  son  of  Beor,  the  name  of  whose  city  was  Dinaba." 
But  commonly  many  matters  of  later  history  are  assigned 
to  early  times,  especially  those  that  are  concerned  with 
ceremonial  and  ritual  observances.  Thus  the  Sabbath 


was  observed  by  the  angels  in  heaven 1  before  it  was 
appointed  for  men  at  the  end  of  the  creation.  The  law 
about  the  purification  of  women  after  childbirth  (Lev.  xii.) 
is  traced  to  the  fact  that  Adam  was  made  in  the  first 
week  and  Eve  in  the  second ;  hence  the  enactment, 
"  seven  days  for  a  man-child  and  two  weeks  for  a  maid- 
child."  And  the  further  law  concerning  the  time  of 
separation  after  parturition  is  grounded  on  the  introduc- 
tion of  Adam  into  Eden  forty  days  after  his  creation, 
and  of  Eve  eighty  days  after  her  formation.  This  law 
is  still  observed  in  t/he  Abyssinian  Church.  At  sunrise 
on  the  day  that  Adam  was  banished  from  the  garden, 
he  offers  incense  composed  of  the  four  ingredients 
specified  in  Ex.  xxx.  34 ;  Cain's  fate  was  an  example 
of  the  law  of  retaliation  afterwards  re-enacted,  Lev. 
xxiv.  18  ff . ;  the  use  of  the  jubilee  periods  was  taught 
by  Enoch  to  his  contemporaries ;  Noah  does  all  in 
accordance  with  the  Mosaic  Law,  offering  sacrifice  of  the 
appointed  animals,  and  first-fruits  and  drink-offerings. 
The  law  of  tithes  is  established  from  the  time  of 
Abraham,  who  also  celebrated  the  feast  of  First-fruits 
and  of  Tabernacles,  and  made  it  an  ordinance  for  ever 
according  to  Lev.  xxiii.  34  ff.  Abraham  anticipates  the 
special  instructions  concerning  laying  salt  on  the  sacri- 
fice, using  certain  wood  for  the  fires,2  purifications,  and 

1  This  notion  is  found  also  in  the  Assumption  of  Moses,  chap, 
i.  17. 

2  There  are  some  fourteen  trees  mentioned  whose  wood  may  be 
used  in  the  sacrificial  fire  (chap.  xvi.).      Many  of  these  cannot  be 
identified.      A  wood   offering  is  spoken  of  Neh.   x.   34,  xiii.  31. 
Abraham's  incense  consists  of  the  seven  substances  mentioned  in 
Ecclus.  xxiv.  15. 



washings.  The  prohibition  against  intermarrying  with 
the  Canaanites  was  originally  uttered  by  the  same 
patriarch;  and  the  rule  concerning  the  betrothing  of  the 
elder  daughter  before  the  younger  was  transcribed  in  the 
heavenly  tables,  which  also  enacted  the  punishment  of 
death  for  Israelites  guilty  of  mixed  marriages  or  harlotry. 
The  Day  of  Atonement  on  the  tenth  day  of  the  seventh 
month  (Lev.  xxiii.)  was  established  by  Jacob  in  memory 
of  the  loss  of  Joseph.  Joseph  resisted  the  temptation 
of  Potiphar's  wife  because  he  knew  of  the  eternal  law 
against  adultery  which  had  been  delivered  to  Abraham 
and  transmitted  by  him  to  his  children ;  and  Judah's  sin 
with  his  daughter-in-law  Tamar  led  to  the  statute  against 
such  incestuous  unions,  and  the  punishment  of  them  by 
fire.  It  was  at  the  feast  of  Tabernacles  that  Levi  was 
consecrated  to  be  priest  by  his  father  in  Bethel,  when 
"  he  clothed  him  in  sacerdotal  robes,  and  filled  his  hands," 
offering  very  ample  sacrifices,  and  assigning  to  him  from 
that  day  forward  not  only  the  first-fruits,  but  also  the 
second  tithe  which  was  now  introduced.  We  may  add 
that,  according  to  our  book,  there  was  much  esoteric 
teaching  which  was  not  openly  divulged  to  the  people, 
but  was  communicated  to  the  patriarchs  in  secret 
writings  and  by  them  transmitted  to  posterity. 

Having  given  the  above  sketch  of  the  contents  of  our 
book,  we  may  now  briefly  examine  the  author's  teaching 
upon  certain  points  of  doctrine,  and  then  we  shall  be 
better  able  to  come  to  some  conclusion  concerning  the 
aim  and  tendency  of  the  document. 

The  teaching  concerning  angels  and  demons  is  in  many 
respects  such  as  is  found  elsewhere.  The  former  are 


often  called  Watchers,  as  in  other  apocalyptic  works. 
The  Angel  of  the  Presence  and  his  companions  convey 
God's  will  to  men,  instruct  them  in  all  useful  knowledge 
of  things  in  heaven  and  in  earth,  and  execute  God's 
wrath  against  sinners.  The  serpent  is  not  identified 
with  Satan  in  the  account  of  the  Fall.  The  great  flow 
of  iniquity  overspreading  the  earth  is  traced  to  the 
intercourse  of  angels  with  the  daughters  of  men,  which 
introduced  a  race  of  beings  gigantic  in  stature  as  in 
wickedness.  And  when  God  determined  to  destroy  men 
with  the  Flood,  he  punished  the  sinning  angels  by  con- 
fining them  in  the  depths  of  the  earth  till  the  great  day 
of  judgment.  But  a  race  of  evil  demons  sprang  from 
them,1  who  vexed  and  deceived  and  tortured  the  sons  of 
Noah  so  grievously  that  they  came  to  their  father  and 
asked  his  intercession  to  free  them  from  their  malice. 
And  Noah  prayed  to  God  to  check  their  power  and 
withhold  them  from  having  dominion  over  the  righteous 
seed.  And  the  Lord  commanded  His  angels  to  take  and 
bind  them  and  cast  them  into  the  place  of  torment.  But 
Mastema,2  the  chief  of  the  demons,  requested  that  some 
might  be  left  to  execute  his  will  in  the  earth ;  and  God 
permitted  one-tenth  of  them  to  remain,  reserving  the 
rest  for  the  place  of  judgment.  And  to  counteract  the 

1  The  same  idea  is  found  in  the  Book  of  Enoch  xv.  8-10. 

2  Mastema  is  often  mentioned  in  Lepto-Genesis,  generally  with 
the  epithet  "supreme,"  "highest."     The  Hebrew  word  Mastemah  is 
found  in  Hos.  ix.  7,  8,  in  the  sense  of  "  hatred,"  where  the  LXX. 
translate  pavi 'a.  and  Aquila  fyxtrY)ffi$.     The  word  in  the  Ethiopian  is 
written  Mastema,  in  the  Latin  Mastima,  and  in  later  Greek  Masti- 
phat.     In  the  apocryphal  Act.  Apost.  (ed.  Tischend.,  Lips.  p.  98)  the 
form  is  Mansemat. 


diseases  which  the  demons  had  introduced  among  man- 
kind, one  of  the  good  angels  taught  Noah  the  use  of 
medicines  and  the  virtues  of  herbs,  all  which  lore  he 
wrote  in  a  book  and  imparted  to  his  son  Shem  before  his 
death.  There  is  some  appearance  of  a  classification  of 
angels  in  Lepto-Genesis.  The  highest  is  the  Angel  of 
the  Presence,  who  leads  the  Israelites  in  the  pillar  of 
fire  and  cloud ;  the  second  are  the  archangels,  or  the 
angels  of  blessing ;  the  third  are  the  angels  of  the 
elements,  who  direct  the  powers  of  nature.  These  were 
all  created  on  the  first  day  with  the  heaven  and  earth 
(chap,  ii.) ;  and  their  agency  is  introduced  on  every 
occasion.  Nothing  happens  or  is  done  without  their 
•co-operation.  They  bring  men's  sins  before  God.  Adam 
was  indebted  to  them  for  learning  his  work  in  Eden, 
Enoch  for  his  knowledge  of  all  things  in  heaven  and 
•earth.  It  was  they  who  bound  the  fallen  angels,  taught 
Noah  the  use  of  feast  days,  presided  at  the  division  of 
the  earth  among  his  sons,  came  to  inspect  the  Tower  of 
Babel.  Abram  was  called  by  an  angel  to  the  Land  of 
Promise,  and  instructed  in  the  Hebrew  tongue  ;  by  an 
angel  was  his  hand  arrested  at  the  sacrifice  of  Isaac. 
Angels  unfold  the  future  to  Abram  and  to  Jacob,  save 
Moses  at  the  inn  from  the  demon  who  thought  to  slay 
him,  bring  to  naught  the  devices  of  the  Egyptian 

Concerning  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  though  it  is  an 
article  of  the  author's  creed,  very  little  is  said,  nothing 
concerning  the  resurrection  of  the  body.  Speaking  of 
the  prosperity  of  Israel  in  the  latter  days,  the  writer 
observes  (chap,  xxiv.) :  "  They  shall  see  the  punishment 


of  their  enemies,  and  their  bones  shall  rest  in  the  earth, 
but  their  spirit  shall  have  much  peace,  and  they  shall 
know  that  the  Lord  is  He  who  keeps  justice  and  shows 
mercy  on  hundreds  and  thousands  and  on  all  who  love 
Him."  If,  as  is  probable,  the  author  wished  his  work  to 
be  acceptable  to  all  his  countrymen  without  regard  to 
sects  and  parties,  the  omission  of  a  tenet  repudiated  by 
the  powerful  sect  of  the  Sadducees  may  be  accounted 

The  idea  of  a  personal  Messiah  is  nowhere  recognised. 
Moses  is  told  to  write  the  account  of  his  revelation  for 
the  use  of  posterity,  "  till  the  Lord  should  descend  and 
dwell  with  them  for  ever  and  ever,  and  His  sanctuary 
should  be  raised  in  their  midst,  and  He  Himself  should 
be  seen  by  them,  that  all  might  know  that  He  is  the  God 
of  Israel "  (chap.  i.).  So  in  the  Assumption  of  Moses 
the  seer  looks  forward  to  no  earthly  monarch  or  heaven- 
sent delegate  who  should  fill  the  throne  of  David  and  lead 
the  people  to  victory,  but  he  expects  the  manifestation 
of  Jehovah  Himself,  as  in  the  wilderness  of  old,  guiding 
and  ruling  with  some  evident  token  of  His  presence.  In 
Lepto- Genesis,  Zion  is  to  be  the  seat  of  this  Epiphany ; 
for  "  in  the  new  creation  Zion  shall  be  sanctified,  and 
through  it  shall  all  the  world  be  purified  from  guilt  and 
uncleanness  for  ever  and  ever  "  (chap.  iv.).  And  as  for 
Israel,  it  is  written  and  firmly  established,  that  if  they 
turn  to  the  Lord  in  righteousness,  He  will  remove  their 
guilt  and  forgive  their  sin,  "and  compassion  shall  be 
shown  to  all  who  turn  from  all  their  misdeeds  once  a 
a  year"  (chap,  v.),  i.e.  on  the  Day  of  Atonement.  In 
another  place  (chap,  xv.)  the  author  says,  that  God  has 


appointed  no  one  to  reign  over  Israel,  neither  Spirit  nor 
angel,  but  that  He  Himself  is  their  only  Lord  and 
Sovereign.  Other  nations  have  their  appointed  guardian 
angels,  and  depend  less  directly  upon  God  for  government, 
but  Israel  is  guided  and  protected  by  the  immediate 
interference  of  the  Lord.1  He  is  the  first-born,  chosen 
out  of  all  the  peoples,  selected  to  be  the  depositary  of  the 
law,  and  bound  to  mark  his  superiority  to  the  rest  of  the 
world  by  the  observance  of  the  Sabbath  and  the  rite  of 
circumcision.  In  his  family  is  the  race  of  priests  who 
intercede  with  God  for  all  flesh  and  do  Him  acceptable 
service.  The  writer  is  copious  in  enunciating  the  pre- 
eminence of  his  people,  and  looks  forward  to  a  time  when, 
as  a  reward  for  their  repentance  and  renewed  adherence 
to  God,  they  should  triumph  over  their  enemies  and  reign 
supreme  in  the  earth.  What  is  to  become  of  the  rest  of 
the  world  is  nowhere  definitely  expressed,  as  in  pursuance 
of  his  plan  the  seer  was  not  bound  to  extend  his  gaze 
beyond  the  occupation  of  the  Promised  Land  and  the 
results  consequent  thereon ;  and  if  he  looks  forward  to  a 
time  when  Israel  shall  revolt  from  God  and  disobey  His 
law,  he  is  really  recalling  the  warnings  given  in  Deuter- 
onomy with  only  faint  allusion  to  the  events  of  later  times 
or  the  prospects  of  a  dim  futurity.  At  the  same  time 
the  narrow  insularity  of  the  writer  and  his  contempt  for, 
and  hatred  of  other  nations  are  continually  appearing  in 
his  pages,  so  that  what  Tacitus  (Hist.  v.  5)  says  of  the 
feeling  of  the  Jews  may  certainly  be  predicated  of  our 
author:  "Adversus  omnes  alios  hostile'odium."  Ammon 
and  Moab,  the  Edomites  and  Amorites,  are  exhibited  as 
1  Comp.  Deut.  xxxii.  8,  9,  12,  Sept.,  and  Ecclus.  xvii.  17. 


the  enemies  of  God's  people,  the  object  of  Heaven's  curse, 
and  doomed  to  destruction.  The  feud  with  the  Canaan- 
ites  dates  from  very,  early  times.  They  were  to  be 
exterminated,  not  merely  for  their  enormous  wickedness 
which  cried  aloud  for  chastisement,  but  chiefly  because 
Canaan  the  son  of  Ham  seized  on  the  region  from 
Lebanon  to  the  brook  of  Egypt  which  appertained  to  the 
inheritance  of  Shern,  thus  dispossessing  the  righteous 
seed.  While  Israel  was  under  God's  immediate  rule  and 
guidance,  other  nations  were  governed  not  merely  by 
guardian  angels,  but  by  demons  who  alienated  them  from 
the  Lord.  And  the  reward  of  Israel's  repentance  is  to  be 
found  in  the  utter  subjection  of  enemies  and  the  heavy 
punishment  inflicted  on  subject  peoples. 

Inflated  with  the  notion  of  the  superiority  of  Israel, 
the  author  can  ill  admit  errors  in  the  conduct  of  the  chief 
fathers  of  the  race,  and  takes  pains  to  palliate  the  faults 
which  are  attributed  to  them  in  the  canonical  accounts, 
or  to  pass  them  over  in  silence.  They  are  in  his  view 
paragons  of  virtue  and  piety,  scrupulous  observers  of  the 
ritual  and  ceremonial  law  before  it  was  publicly  enacted. 
Such  excellent  personages  could  not  greatly  err.  Thus 
Abram's  deceit  in  the  matter  of  Sarai  at  the  court  of 
Pharaoh  is  left  unrecorded,  while  various  particulars  of 
his  early  piety,  learning,  and  devotion,  not  mentioned  in 
Genesis,  are  painted  in  glowing  colours.  In  Isaac's 
question  to  Jacob  the  omission  of  the  name  Esau — 
"  Art  thou  my  very  son  ? "  and  his  answer,  "  I  am  thy 
son  " — clears  Jacob  from  a  verbal  falsehood ;  just  as  the 
alteration  in  Gen.  xliv.  15,  mentioned  above,  is  intended 
to  secure  Joseph  from  the  charge  of  practising  divination. 


Isaac  repents  of  his  partiality  for  Esau  and  learns  to 
regard  Jacob  as  his  true  son  and  heir ;  so  Jacob  in  late 
life  loves  and  honours  Leah,  having  freely  forgiven  the 
treacherous  part  which  she  once  had  played.  His  piety 
is  exhibited  in  every  circumstance  of  his  life;  when  he 
flees  from  Laban,  he  prays  and  worships  the  God  of  his 
fathers  before  he  sets  forth ;  he  affords  a  pattern  of  filial 
devotion  by  his  obedience  to  his  parents,  and  the  care  he 
takes  in  ministering  regularly  to  their  wants.  Not  to 
weary  the  reader  with  particulars,  one  can  say  shortly 
that  the  book  is  filled  with  the  glorification  of  the 
patriarchs,  who  were  represented  as  adorned  with  every 
virtue,  and  as  genuine  Israelites,  observers  of  the  Mosaic 
Law,  moral  and  ceremonial. 

A  few  words  may  now  be  added  concerning  the  object 
and  intention  of  this  treatise.  The  aim  of  the  writer  is 
not  difficult  to  define.  In  the  first  place,  he  evidently 
desired  to  explain  difficulties  which  had  met  him  in 
reflecting  on  the  statements  of  Scripture.  Some  things 
had  been  misunderstood  ;  he  would  interpret  them  aright. 
Some  things  were  obscure ;  he  would  make  them  clear. 
Some  omissions  occurred ;  he  would  supply  the  missing 
links.  Some  points  were  only  hinted  at  or  too  briefly 
stated  ;  he  would  develop  these  intimations  into  complete 
and  well-rounded  statements.  Especially  seemed  the 
glosser's  hand  to  be  needed  in  arranging  the  chronology 
of  the  patriarchal  times.  In  this  matter,  however,  as  we 
have  shown  above,  he  has  not  been  uniformly  successful, 
his  arithmetic  being  sometimes  faulty  and  landing  him  in 
impossible  results.  As  he  claims  credit  for  his  state- 
ments on  the  ground  of  a  heavenly  revelation,  we  should 


be  inclined   to  attribute   these    errors   to   copyists ;  but 
unfortunately  they  are  of  such  frequent  occurrence,  and 
many  of  them  are  so  interwoven  with  the  narrative,  that 
they  must  be  assigned  to  the  author's  carelessness  or  his 
inability  to  keep  in  hand  all  the  links  of  his  long  history. 
Another  object  was  in  the  writer's  mind.     Around  the 
sacred  record  of  Genesis  and  Exodus  had  arisen  a  rank 
growth  of  legends,  additions,  and  traditionary  statements ; 
some  features  of  Biblical  characters  were  exaggerated,  the 
merest  hints  were  expanded  into  detailed  narratives,  and 
sagas  took  the  place  of  the  simple  authentic  accounts. 
In    the    Alexandrian    school    persons    and    events   were 
idealised  into  abstractions,  .and  became  merely  metaphors 
and  pictures  of  vices  and  virtues.     The  Book  of  Jubilees 
recalls  men  from  these  speculations  to  plain  historical,  or 
quasi-historical,  facts.     It  makes  the  heroes  of  the  Bible 
living  characters.     Discarding  much  legendary  matter,  it 
claims  for  the  narrative,  with  its  many  additions  to  the 
sacred  text,  a  supreme  importance,  and  tells  the  tale  of 
the  patriarchs  in  an  authoritative  style  which  enforces 
acceptance,  and  with  such  amplification  as  requires  no 
further    increment.      It    recounts    early   history   in    the 
spirit  of   the   writer's   own   day.     We   here   are   shown 
what  a  pious  Jew  felt  and  believed  at  the  commence- 
ment of  the  Christian  era.     His  opinions  on  momentous 
topics,  such  as  Satan,  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  future 
judgment,  are   intimated   or   distinctly   set    forth.      The 
writing  aims  to  be  a  popular  work,  such  an  one  as  would 
seize  upon  the  mind  of  the  less  instructed,  whether  Jews 
or  proselytes,  and  hold  them  to  their  faith  by  fear  as 
well  as  reverence.    Hence  come  the  exaggerated  penalties 


for  certain  common  offences,  and  the  claim  of  primitive 
revelation  for  many  peculiarly  Jewish  observances. 
Compared  with  the  heavenly  origin  and  hoar  antiquity 
of  Jewish  customs,  morals,  and  ritual,  all  other  religions 
were  inferior  and  of  no  account ;  and  the  Hebrew  must 
be  known  among  all  nations  by  his  strict  adherence  to 
the  precepts  of  his  forefathers.  Having  this  object  in 
view,  the  writer  takes  special  pains  to  enforce  certain 
portions  of  the  Mosaic  Law,  both  by  glorifying  its  origin 
and  by  denouncing  vengeance  on  its  infringement. 
Notably  is  this  the  case  with  the  law  of  sacrifice  and 
offering.  He  is  most  particular  in  showing  the  customs 
of  the  earliest  patriarchs  in  this  matter,  how  that  they 
never  failed  to  make  offerings  on  every  suitable  occasion, 
how  that  Abraham  delivered  to  Isaac  most  stringent 
commands  concerning  sacrifice,  and  how  highly  honoured 
was  Levi  as  the  father  of  the  priestly  family.  In  other 
cases  the  inculcation  of  a  command  goes  far  beyond 
Scripture  in  strictness.  The  man  who  eats  blood  shall 
be  utterly  destroyed,  he  and  his  seed  for  ever,  as  long  as 
the  earth  exists  (chap.  vi.).  The  father  who  gives  his 
daughter,  or  he  who  gives  his  sister,  in  marriage  to  a 
heathen  shall  be  stoned  to  death,  and  the  wife  shall  be 
burned  with  fire  (chap.  xxx.).  The  Sabbath  is  broken 
even  by  speaking  of  taking  a  journey,  or  of  buying  and 
selling,  by  lighting  a  fire,  by  drawing  water,  etc.,1  and 
the  offender  is  to  be  put  to  death.  A  second  tithe  is 
due  to  the  Lord,  and  must  be  paid  for  ever  by  all  true 

1  Among  Sabbath-breakers  is  reckoned,  according  to  Dillmann's 
version,  "der  bei  seinera  Weibe  schlaft,"  a  deduction  from  Ex. 
xix.  15. 


Israelites.  Only  certain  named  (chap,  xxi.)  woods  are 
to  be  used  for  the  fire  of  the  burnt-offering.  The  feast 
of  Tabernacles  is  to  be  celebrated  with  garlands  on  the 
head,  and  with  a  procession  round  the  altar  seven  times 
on  every  day  of  the  festival.  There  is  a  multitude  of 
other  strict  and  irksome  enactments,  which,  as  they  were 
in  force  in  the  time  of  our  Lord,  justified  His  saying  of 
the  scribes  and  Pharisees  (Matt,  xxiii.  4) :  "  They  bind 
heavy  burdens,  and  grievous  to  be  borne,  and  lay  them 
on  men's  shoulders."  One  sees  in  the  Jubilees  the  spirit 
and  temper  which  met  our  blessed  Lord  in  His  earthly 
teaching,  the  way  in  which  a  strong  and  dominant  party 
used  the  Old  Testament  to  support  their  objects.  Close 
observance  of  the  law,  minutiae  of  ceremony,  strictness  of 
ritual,  were  enjoined  by  our  author  with  the  view  of 
differentiating  his  own  people  from  all  other  nations,  and 
raising  them  to  the  highest  eminence  as  specially  favoured 
by  God,  and  bound  to  uphold  their  just  prerogatives. 
They  were  subject  to  many  perilous  attractions  at  this 
time.  Greece  with  its  science  and  culture,  Eome  with 
its  might  and  supremacy,  alike  drew  away  adherents 
from  Hebraism.  Many  had  become  ashamed  of  their 
religion  and  their  very  nationality.  Herod's  party  was 
Jewish  only  in  name.  It  may  be  that  the  teaching, 
miracles,  and  example  of  Christ  had  also  begun  to  move 
men's  minds.  All  these  dangers  required  some  counter- 
acting energy  to  resist  their  influence.  Our  author  offers 
his  book  as  a  panacea.  The  law,  which  he  endeavours 
to  enforce,  was  of  no  human  origin,  and  of  no  ephemeral 
existence ;  it  was  eternal,  always  written  in  the  heavenly 
tablets,  and  intended  to  last  and  to  be  executed  for  ever 


and  ever.  Evidently  he  desires  to  reanimate  the  spirit 
of  Judaism,  which  he  saw  to  be  endangered  by  contact 
with  its  surroundings ;  and,  taking  no  prominent  side  in 
the  contest  of  parties,  he  wishes  to  combine  all  true 
Israelites  together  in  resistance  to  the  worldly  or  heathen 
influences  around  them,  which  were  undermining  the 
faith  of  the  people,  and  introducing  laxity  and  innova- 
tion, to  unite  under  one  banner  the  divided  elements  of 
the  holy  nation,  "  till  the  sanctuary  of  the  Lord  should 
be  raised  on  the  hill  of  Zion,  and  the  portion  of  Israel 
should  be  holiness,  and  peace,  and  blessing,  from  hence- 
forth and  for  ever"  (chap.  i.). 


PASSING  through  Drury  Lane  in  the  year  of  grace  1819, 
and  examining  the  bookstalls  which  then  rendered  that 
locality  a  happy  hunting  -  ground  for  bibliomaniacs, 
Kichard  Laurence,  Archbishop  of  Cashel,  at  the  counter 
of  one  J.  Smith,  lighted  upon  an  Ethiopic  version  of  the 
Prophecy  of  Isaiah,  to  which  was  appended  a  further 
treatise,  called  the  "  Ascension  of  Isaiah."  The  book- 
seller, not  recognising  the  value  of  the  work,  sold  it  for 
a  trifle  ;  but  the  Archbishop,  who  was  tolerably  well 
acquainted  with  the  language  in  which  it  was  written,  at 
once  perceived  that  he  had  become  the  possessor  of  a 
long-lost  book,  and  one  which  was  a  precious  contribution 
to  the  study  of  Jewish  -  Christian  thought  in  the  first 
period  of  Christianity.  Nor  was  it  long  before  he  made 


the  literary  world  cognisant  of  his  discovery,  publishing 
the  Ethiopic  text  with  an  English  and  a  Latin  version, 
critical  notes,  and  observations  on  the  date,  contents,  and 
bearing  of  the  tractate.1  Of  this  pseudepigraphical  work, 
considered  to  belong  to  the  earliest  Christian  centuries, 
I  propose  to  give  some  account. 

The  history  of  the  text  is  soon  told.  The  MS.  on 
which  Archbishop  Laurence  based  his  edition  is  now  in 
the  Bodleian  Library,  and  was  for  a  time  deemed  to  be 
the  only  authority  extant  or  available.  It  had  previously 
passed  through  perilous  experience.  Written  originally 
for  the  use  of  a  monk,  Aaron,  who  was  about  to  travel 
in  the  Holy  Land,  it  had  been  brought  back  from 
Jerusalem  by  Th.  Petrous,  who,  in  his  edition  of  the 
Prophecy  of  Jonah  translated  from  the  Ethiopic  into 
Latin  (A.D.  1660),  mentions  that  he  had  examined  it. 
How  it  arrived  at  the  bookstall  in  Drury  Lane  is  un- 
known. At  the  time  it  appeared  no  other  copy  was 
known  to  exist. 

But  since  that  date  supplementary  aids  for  determin- 
ing the  text  have  come  to  light,  and  scholars  on  the 
Continent  have  exercised  their  ingenuity  in  correcting 
erroneous  readings  and  renderings,  and  in  elucidating 
and  illustrating  the  work.  In  1828,  Angelus  Mai 
published  two  fragments  of  an  ancient  Latin  version  of 
portions  of  the  work,  containing  chaps,  ii.  14  to  iii.  13, 
and  vii.  1-19,  without  being  aware  of  what  work  they 

1  "Ascensio  IsaicE  vatis,  opusculum  pseud  epigraph  um,  multis 
abhinc  seculis,  ut  videtur,  deperditum,  nunc  autem  apud  ^Ethiopas 
compertum,  et  cum  versione  Latina  Anglicaque  public!  juris  factum 
a  Ricardo  Laurence."  Oxoniae  1819. 


formed  a  portion.  Their  right  position  was  discovered 
by  Niebuhr,  and  fully  discussed  by  Nitzsch  in  Stud,  und 
Krit.  1830.  Another  section  (chaps,  vi.— xi.),  containing 
what  is  called  the  "  Vision  of  Isaiah,"  was  known  to 
have  been  printed  at  Venice  in  1522,  and  was  quoted 
by  Sixtus  Senensis  in  his  Bill.  Sancta  (lib.  ii.  p.  59) 
under  the  title  of  "  Anabasis  "  or  "  Anabatikon,"  but  no 
copy  was  forthcoming,  till  one  was  found  in  1832  in 
the  library  at  Munich,  and  edited  with  preface  and  notes 
by  J.  C.  L.  Gieseler.  The  Abyssinian  war  in  1868,  as 
it  was  magnificently  named,  if  it  conferred  no  glory  on 
its  promoters  and  executors,  brought  into  our  possession 
some  literary  treasures  which  have  proved  of  great 
interest.  Among  the  plunder  thus  obtained  at  Magdala 
were  two  Ethiopic  MSS.  of  the  "  Ascension,"  which  are 
now  deposited  in  the  British  Museum.  They  are  of  no 
great  antiquity,  being  attributed  to  the  fifteenth  and 
eighteenth  centuries  respectively ;  but  they  have  been 
employed  with  good  effect  by  Dillmann  in  preparing  his 
useful  edition  of  the  work.1  By  collating  these  MSS. 
with  Laurence's  text,  he  has  been  enabled  to  correct  the 

1  "  Ascensio  Isaise  ^Ethiopice  et  Latine  cum  Prolegomenis,  Adnota- 
tionibus  criticis  et  exegeticis,  additis  versionum  Latinarum  reliquiis, 
edita  ab  Augusto  Dillmann."  Lipsise  1877.  Of  this  excellent  little 
work  I  have  made  much  use,  and  hereby  thankfully  acknowledge 
my  obligations  to  the  author.  A  translation  of  the  Ascension  is 
given  in  the  Lutheran  Quarterly  of  October  1878,  vol.  viii.  pp.  513  ff.  ; 
but  this  I  have  been  unable  to  consult,  as  it  is  not  to  be  found  either 
in  the  British  Museum  or  in  the  Cambridge  University  Library. 
Many  learned  Germans,  e.g.  Grimm,  Gieseler,  Nitzsch,  Ewald, 
Gfrorer,  Movers,  have  treated  of  the  work  with  completeness,  not 
to  say  prolixity.  It  is  also  handled  by  Gesenius  in  his  Commentary 
on  Isaiah,  vol.  i.  p.  45  ff.  (1821). 


latter  in  numerous  places,  to  fill  up  lacunae,  and  to  prove 
the  existence  of  many  interpolations  and  corruptions. 
In  the  year  following  this  publication  another  discovery 
was  made.  The  National  Library  at  Paris  was  found  to 
possess  a  Greek  MS.  with  the  title :  "  The  Prophecy, 
Revelation,  and  Martyrdom  of  the  holy  and  glorious  and 
greatest  of  the  prophets,  Isaiah  the  Prophet,"  and  it  was 
concluded  that  at  length  the  original  and  long-lost  text 
had  been  discovered.  Further  examination  proved  that 
this  expectation  was  by  no  means  realised.  The  docu- 
ment in  question  was  a  beautiful  parchment  of  the 
twelfth  century,  containing  a  collection  of  Legends  of 
the  Saints  commemorated  in  the  Calendar  between  the 
first  day  of  March  and  the  last  of  May.  In  the  Eastern 
Church  Isaiah  is  commemorated,  May  9,  in  company 
with  the  martyr  Christopher,  and  as  appointed  for  that 
day  the  MS.  inserts  the  Legends  of  these  two  worthies. 
The  Latin  Church  observes  another  day  in  memory  of 
the  prophet ;  but  neither  in  the  Eoman  Breviary  nor  in 
the  Greek  Menaion  is  there  any  trace  of  this  particular 
form  of  the  myth.  Disappointment  met  the  sanguine 
examiners  of  this  manuscript.  It  was  found  to  contain 
only  a  portion  of  the  work,  and  that  in  a  different  order 
from  that  of  the  Ethiopic  text,  and  with  the  omission  of 
an  important  and  lengthy  passage.  It  is  to  be  regarded 
merely  as  an  extract  from  the  original  as  contained  in 
chaps,  vi.-xi.  and  ii.-v.,  with  many  glosses  and  additions. 
The  omitted  part  is  that  which,  from  internal  evidence, 
is  supposed  to  be  of  Christian  origin,  and  was  doubtless 
absent  from  the  copy  whence  the  Greek  MS.  was  taken ; 
otherwise,  as  it  contains  matter  most  suitable  for  a 


legendary,  it  would  have  found  a  place  there.     In  this 
document,  to   the   legend   concerning    Isaiah's   death   is 
appended  a  myth  concerning  his  burial  and  the  origin  of 
the  Pool  of  Siloam,  which  came  into  existence  in  answer 
to  his  prayers.     The  legend  here  takes  the  same  form  as 
that  which  is  found  in  the   Chronicon  Pascliale  of  the 
Byzantine  Histories.      There  is  no  doubt  that  it  is  not  a 
correct  copy  of  the  original  Greek  work,  but  is  a  com- 
pilation   from    it,    containing    doubtless    many    genuine 
passages,  retaining  much  of  the  actual  wording,  but  with 
the  whole  story  abbreviated,  epitomised,  and  refashioned. 
The  fragment  is  printed  with  prefatory  remarks  by  Dr. 
Oscar  von  Gebhardt  in  Hilgenf eld's  Zeitschrift  for  1878, 
pp.  330  ff.     Since  this  publication  I  am  not  aware  that 
any  further  aid  for  the  settling  of  the  text  has  appeared. 
Postponing  for  a  time  the  consideration  of  the  internal 
evidence  for  the  date  of  the  work,  which  will  be  more 
satisfactorily  treated  after  we  have  glanced  at  the  con- 
tents, we  may  proceed  to  examine  its  external  claims  to 
be  regarded  as  contemporaneous  with  primitive  Christian 
times.     In  suchlike  investigations,  where  the  original  is 
no  longer  extant,  we  are  reduced  to  searching  for  citations 
and  references  in  early  writers,  whether  acknowledged  or 
recognisable.      Speaking  of  the  trials  of  God's  servants 
in  old  time,  the  author  of  the  Epistle  to  the  Hebrews 
mentions  (chap.  xi.  37)  that  some  of  them  "were  sawn 
asunder."     Now  to  the  other  trials,  or  forms  of  death 
noticed   in   the   passage,   we   can   find   parallels    in   the 
histories  of  the  worthies  of  the  Old  Testament,  or  in  the 
Books   of    Maccabees ;    but   there   is   no    instance   of    a 
primitive   saint  meeting   his  death   by  the  saw.      It  is 


true  that  David  is  said  to  have  put  the  Ammonites  under 
saws ;  but  these  were  not  martyrs,  but  enemies  of  Israel, 
and  it  is  quite  possible  that  the  expression  means  no 
more  than  that  they  were  put  to  the  servile  work  of 
sawing  timber.  It  is  true  also  that,  according  to  the 
Greek  version  of  Amos,  the  Damascenes  sawed  asunder 
the  Gileadite  women ; l  but  the  writer  in  the  Epistle  is 
not  speaking  of  such  wholesale  cruelty  practised  on  a 
large  district,  but  of  the  tortures  and  murders  of  indi- 
viduals. The  only  saint  who  is  supposed  to  have 
experienced  death  in  this  manner  is  Isaiah ;  and  the 
tradition  which  asserts  that  he  was  sawn  asunder  with 
a  wooden  saw  is  found  embodied  in  the  book  which 
we  are  considering,  where  we  are  told  that  Manasseh, 
incensed  at  Isaiah's  warnings,  had  him  thus  slain,  and 
with  his  fawning  false  prophets  around  him  stood  by 
deriding  the  holy  man's  sufferings.2  Of  course,  the 
reference  in  the  Epistle  may  belong  to  some  other  person 
than  Isaiah,  though  we  know  of  none  to  whom  it  would 
apply ;  or  the  writer  may  have  derived  the  tradition 
from  a  different  source  than  the  "  Ascension  ; "  and  there- 
fore no  argument  for  the  date  of  the  work  can  be 
grounded  on  this  allusion ;  but  there  seems  to  have  been 
a  curious  consensus  of  commentators  in  regarding  the 
expression  as  appertaining  to  the  peculiar  end  of  Isaiah 
as  detailed  in  the  Jewish  story,  which  also  seems  to  have 
been  known  to  Josephus,  as  he  speaks  of  Manasseh  not 

1  See  2  Sam.  xii.  31  ;  Amos  i.  3. 

2  The  spot  where  this  event  took  place  is  still  pointed  out  tradi- 
tionally.    It  is  marked  by  an  ancient  mulberry  tree  standing  at  the 
side  of  the  Red,  or  Lower,  Pool,  a  reservoir  formed  by  the  overflow 
from  Siloam. 



sparing  even  the  prophets  of  the  Lord  (Antiq.  x.  3.  1). 
But  there  are  early  references  to  the  book  itself  under 
different  names.  Justin  Martyr,  indeed,  who,  in  his 
Dialogue  with  Tryplw  the  Jew  (chap,  cxx.),  alludes  to 
the  death  of  Isaiah,  does  not  mention  our  book  by  name, 
but  he  refers  unmistakably  to  the  tradition  therein 
embodied.  He  is  showing  from  the  Old  Testament  the 
mission  and  character  of  Christ,  and  he  tells  his  antagonist 
that,  had  the  Jews  understood  the  full  import  of  such 
passages,  they  would  have  removed  them  from  the  text, 
as  they  have  removed  "those  relating  to  the  death  of 
Isaiah,  whom,"  he  says,  "ye  sawed  in  pieces  with  a 
wooden  saw."  It  is  not  clear  what  part  of  Scripture 
Justin  supposes  to  -have  been  thus  violently  handled, 
but  his  reference  to  the  mode  of  the  prophet's  death 
recalls  the  wording  of  the  "  Ascensio."  There  can,  how- 
ever, be  no  mistake  about  Tertullian's  acquaintance  with 
the  work,  and  with  that  part  of  it  which  is  evidently 
of  Jewish  origin.  In  his  treatise  On  Patience  (chap, 
xiv.),  he  writes,  "Exhibiting  such  powers  of  patience, 
Isaiah  is  cut  asunder,  and  holds  not  his  peace  concerning 
the  Lord."  Evidently  he  has  in  view  that  passage  of 
the  Ascension  given  below,  where  it  is  said  that 
Isaiah  continued  to  converse  with  the  Holy  Spirit  till 
he  was  sawn  asunder.  In  the  so-called  Apostolical  Con- 
stitutions (vi.  16),  the  work  is  mentioned  among  certain 
ancient  productions  and  termed  airoKpv^ov  'H&atov. 
The  same  name  is  given  to  it  by  Origen,  who  more 
than  once  appeals  to  it  as  his  authority  for  the 
martyrdom,  and  derives  other  observations  therefrom. 
In  his  Epistle  to  Africanus  (chap,  ix.),  after  remark- 


ing  that  the  Jews  were  accustomed  to  remove  from 
popular  cognisance  all  things  supposed  to  be  derogatory 
to  elders  and  judges,  while  preserving  many  of  such 
facts  in  secret  books,  he  instances  the  story  of  Isaiah, 
which,  he  says,  is  confirmed  by  the  testimony  of  the 
Epistle  to  the  Hebrews,  thus  making  the  document  that 
contains  the  legend  of  more  ancient  date  than  the  Epistle. 
And  he  continues  :  "  It  is  clear  that  tradition  reports  that 
Isaiah  was  sawn  asunder ;  and  so  it  is  stated  in  a  certain 
apocryphal  writing  (ev  TLVI  aTro/cpv^y),  which  was  perhaps 
purposely  corrupted  by  the  Jews  who  introduced  incon- 
gruous readings  in  order  to  throw  discredit  on  the  whole 
narrative."  So  again,  in  the  Commentary  on  St.  Matthew 
(xiii.  57,  xxiii.  37),  he  writes:  "Now,  if  any  refuse  to 
receive  this  story  because  it  is  recorded  in  the  Apocry- 
phon  of  Isaiah  (ev  rc5  apoKpv$u>  'Hvata),  let  him  believe 
what  is  written  in  the  Epistle  to  the  Hebrews,  even  as 
the  account  of  the  death  of  Zechariah,  slain  between  the 
temple  and  the  altar,  is  to  be  believed  on  the  testimony 
of  the  Saviour,  though  the  tale  was  not  drawn  from  the 
common  and  published  books,  but,  as  I  suppose,  from 
some  apocryphal  writing."  His  acquaintance  with  our 
book  is  still  further  expressed  in  one  of  his  Homilies  on 
Isaiah  (torn.  iii.  p.  108),  where  the  resemblance  to  a 
passage  quoted  below  is  perfectly  obvious.  "  They  say 
that  Isaiah  was  cut  asunder  by  the  people,  as  one  who 
depraved  the  law  and  spoke  beyond  what  Scripture 
authorised.  For  Scripture  says,  No  one  shall  see  my 
face  and  live ;  but  he  says,  I  saw  the  Lord  of  Hosts. 
Moses,  they  say,  saw  Him  not,  and  thou  didst  see  Him ! 
And  for  this  cause  they  cut  him  asunder  and  condemned 


him  as  impious."  Quoted  from  memory,  as  this  doubt- 
less was,  it  is  sufficiently  close  to  the  original  to  show 
whence  it  was  derived.  St.  Ambrose  (in  Ps.  cxviii. 
torn.  i.  p.  1124)  refers  to  Satan's  attempt  to  make  Isaiah 
save  his  life  by  apostasy,  narrated  in  chap.  v.  of  the 
Ascension.  "  It  is  recorded  by  many  that  a  certain 
prophet,  being  in  prison,  and  in  danger  of  immediate 
execution,  was  thus  addressed  by  the  devil :  Say  that 
the  Lord  hath  not  spoken  by  thee  in  all  that  thou  hast 
uttered,  and  I  will  turn  all  men's  hearts  and  affections 
to  thee,  so  that  they  who  now  are  wroth  at  thy  offence 
shall  be  the  first  to  pardon  thee."  The  author  of  the 
Opus  imperfectum  on  St.  Matthew,  inserted  among  the 
works  of  St.  Chrysostom,  which  is  assigned  to  the  fifth 
century,  gives  some  details  which  must  have  been  derived 
from  what  is  now  the  first  and  second  chapters  of  our 
book.  He  is  commenting  on  the  name  Manasseh  in 
the  genealogy  of  our  Lord,  and  he  asserts,  resting  on  the 
etymology  of  the  word,  "  one  who  forgets,"  that  he  was 
proleptically  so  called,  because  he  would  forget  all  the 
holy  conversation  of  his  father  and  all  the  benefits  which 
he  had  received,  and  at  the  instigation  of  the  devil  would 
do  everything  to  provoke  the  anger  of  the  Lord.  This, 
as  we  shall  see  below,  is  in  exact  agreement  with  the 
beginning  of  the  martyrdom  in  our  book.  But  there 
is  more  than  this.  The  passage  that  follows  is  evidently 
borrowed  from  the  proSmium  of  the  Apocryphon,  as  a 
comparison  with  the  words  in  brackets  will  show :  "  Now 
when  Hezekiah  was  sick  at  a  certain  time,  and  Isaiah 
the  prophet  came  to  visit  him,  he  called  for  his  son 
Manasseh,  and  began  to  admonish  him  that  he  ought 


to  fear  God,  and  told  him  how  to  reign,  and  many  other 
things.  (It  came  to  pass  in  the  twenty-sixth  year  of  the 
reign  of  Hezekiah,  king  of  Judah,  that  he  sent  for  his 
only  son  Manasseh,  and  called  him  before  Isaiah,  the  son 
of  Amos,  the  prophet,  and  before  Josab,  the  son  of  Isaiah, 
that  he  might  deliver  unto  him  the  words  of  truth  in 
which  he  had  himself  been  instructed  .  .  .  and  the 
truths  relating  to  the  faith  of  the  Beloved  which  had 
been  communicated  to  him  in  the  year  of  his  reign  when 
he  was  visited  with  sickness.)  And  Isaiah  said  unto 
him :  These  words  of  mine  do  not  descend  into  thy  son's 
heart,  and  therefore  I  myself  must  needs  die  by  his  hand. 
(And  Isaiah  spake  unto  King  Hezekiah  in  the  presence  of 
Manasseh,  and  said :  As  God  liveth,  Manasseh  thy  son 
will  surely  disregard  all  these  precepts  and  words,  and 
by  the  deed  of  his  hands,  with  great  torment  of  body, 
shall  I  depart  this  life.)  When  Hezekiah  heard  this,  he 
wished  to  kill  his  son,  saying:  It  is  better  for  me  to  die 
childless  than  to  leave  a  son  who  will  provoke  the  wrath 
of  God,  and  persecute  His  saints.  (When  Hezekiah  heard 
this  he  wept  abundantly,  rent  his  garments,  put  dust 
upon  his  head,  and  fell  upon  his  face.  .  .  .  And  Hezekiah 
secretly  intended  to  kill  his  son  Manasseh.)  But  the 
prophet  Isaiah  restrained  him  with  difficulty,  saying : 
May  God  frustrate  this  thy  purpose ;  for  he  saw  the 
piety  of  Hezekiah,  that  he  loved  God  better  than  his 
son.  (But  Isaiah  said :  In  these  things  I  cannot 
indulge  thee  .  .  .  the  beloved  hath  frustrated  thy  pur- 
pose, and  the  thought  of  thy  heart  shall  not  be  ful- 
filled.") Epiphanius l  attests  that  certain  heretics  of 
1  Epiphan.  Hceres.  Ixvii.  3  (p.  712)  ;  xl.  De  Archonticis  (p.  292). 


the  third  century  made  use  of  our  work,  which  he  calls 
TO  avaftarucbv  (Ascensio)  'Haatov,  to  support  their 
opinions.  Thus  one  Hieracas,.  an  Egyptian  heresiarch, 
grounded  his  position  that  Melchisedek  (of  whom  it  is 
said,  Heb.  vii.  3,  that  he  was  like  the  Son  of  God,  and 
abideth  a  priest  continually)  was  the  Holy  Spirit,  upon 
certain  passages  in  chaps,  ix.  and  xi.  of  the  Ascension. 
"  The  angel  showed  me  of  all  things  before  me,  and 
said :  Who  is  this  on  the  right  hand  of  God  ?  And  I 
answered :  Thou  knowest,  0  Lord.  And  he  said :  This 
is  the  Beloved.  (I  beheld  one  standing  whose  glory 
surpassed  all  things.  .  .  .  This  is  the  Lord  of  all  the 
glory  which  thou  hast  beheld.)  And  who  is  the  other 
like  unto  Him  coming  on  the  left  hand  ?  And  I 
answered :  Thou  knowest.  This  is  the  Holy  Spirit  that 
speaketh  in  thee  and  in  the  prophets.  And  He  was  like 
to  the  Beloved.  (While  I  was  conversing,  I  perceived 
another  glorious  being,  who  was  like  to  Him  in  appear- 
ance. .  .  .  The  second  which  I  saw  was  on  the  left  hand 
of  my  Lord.  And  I  asked :  Who  is  this  ?  And  he 
replied :  Worship  Him,  for  this  is  the  angel  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  who  speaketh  in  thee  and  other  saints.  ...  I 
perceived  that  He  sat  down  on  the  right  hand  of  that 
great  glory.  I  perceived  likewise  that  the  angel  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  sat  down  on  the  left  hand.")  Epiphanius 
says  of  the  Archontici  (a  sect  who  held  that  the  world 
was  created  by  angels,  and  that  there  were  seven  heavens, 
each  presided  over  by  an  archon  or  ruler)  that  they  derive 
their  tenets  from  the  'Avafian/cbv  'H&aiov,  and  other 
apocryphal  works.  The  statement  on  which  they  relied 
is  found  in  the  seventh  and  following  chapters  of  the 


Ascension,  where  Isaiah's  passage  through  the  seven 
heavens,  with  their  presiding  angels,  is  described.  The 
work  was  also  known  to  St.  Jerome,  who  refers  to  it  in 
his  commentary  on  Isa.  Ixiv.  4 :  "  From  of  old  men 
have  not  heard,  nor  perceived  by  the  ear,  neither  hath 
the  eye  seen  a  God  beside  Thee,  which  worketh  for  him 
that  waiteth  for  Him."  l  After  comparing  the  analogous 
passage  in  1  Cor.  ii.  9,  he  adds :  "  Ascensio  enim  Isaise 
et  Apocalypsis  Helias2  hoc  habent  testimonium."  We 
search  in  vain  for  this  reference  in  the  existing  Ethiopia 
text,  but  it  occurs  as  an  interpolation  in  the  Latin  frag- 
ment printed  at  Venice,  where  we  read  (xi.  34):  "The 
angel  said  unto  me :  This  is  sufficient  for  thee,  Isaiah ; 
for  thou  hast  seen  what  no  other  mortal  man  in  the  flesh 
hath  ever  beheld,  what  neither  eye  hath  seen,  nor  ear 
hath  heard,  nor  hath  it  risen  into  the  heart  of  man  what 
great  things  God  hath  prepared  for  all  who  love  Him." 
There  is  no  record  of  our  work  after  this  in  the  Fathers, 
though  it  is  mentioned  under  the  names  Anabaticon, 
Ascensus,  'Haaiov  opaais,  in  two  or  three  catalogues  of 
Scripture  and  apocryphal  writings.3  In  the  Apostolical 
Constitutions  (vi.  16)  a  list  of  apocryphal  works  is 
given  which  are  deemed  pernicious  and  repugnant  to  the 

1  The  passages  above  are  quoted  by  Fabricius,  Codex  Pseudepigr. 
Vet.  Test,,  by  Laurence,  and  by  other  writers. 

2  The  Apocalypse  of  Elijah  is  mentioned  in  the  Apostolical  Con- 
stitutions (vi.  16),  and  by  some  of  the  Fathers,  consisting,  according 
to  the  Stichometria  of  Nicephorus,  of  316  verses ;  but  the  text  has 
entirely  perished. 

3  See  the  catalogue  in  Anastasius,  Qucestiones  et  Responsiones,  Lat. 
Bibl.  Max.   Patr.  ix.  ;  and  Sixtus  Senensis,  Bibl  Sancta,  i.     The 
Ascensio    occurs    in    the    catalogue    of    The    Sixty    Books    among 


truth ;  among  these  appears  anroKpv^ov  'H&aiov,  which 
probably  represents  the  Ascension.  For  some  five  or  six 
centuries  the  book  remained  in  obscurity ;  then,  for  an 
instant,  it  crops  up  in  the  Qucvstiones  et  Responsiones  of 
Anastasius  in  the  eleventh  century,  where,  in  the  cata- 
logue of  canonical  and  apocryphal  books,  we  find  'Haalov 
opaais,  the  Vision  of  Isaiah,  which  describes  the  second 
section  of  our  work.  Under  the  same  name  Euthymius 
Zigabenus  denounces  it  as  the  origin  of  the  heresy  of  the 
Messalians  with  regard  to  the  Holy  Trinity.  Many  of 
the  Gnostic  sects  found  support  in  the  statements  or 
wording  of  the  Ascension,  and  it  is  said  to  have  been 
employed  in  the  same  way  by  the  Cathari  of  "Western 
Europe,  the  Albigenses,  and  similar  sects.  On  the  other 
hand,  Archbishop  Laurence  adduces  passages  from  the 
work  in  defence  of  orthodoxy  against  the  Unitarians  and 
depravers  of  the  Gospel  history,  endeavouring,  and  with 
partial  success,  to  show  that  the  doctrine  of  the  Holy 
Trinity  and  the  miraculous  conception  and  birth  of  our 
Lord  were  known  to  the  author,  as  well  as  other  events 
narrated  in  the  Christian  story.  We  shall  meet  with  these 
statements  when  we  investigate  the  contents  of  the  book. 
A  critical  examination  of  the  work  confirms  Dillmann's 
opinion  that  it  consists  of  three  or  four  sections  composed 
by  different  authors  and  at  different  periods,  and  very 
clumsily  arranged  as  a  whole,  the  writer  introducing  the 
prophet  as  relating  to  Hezekiah  his  vision,  after  he  has 
been  recounting  the  deaths  of  Isaiah  and  the  king.  This 
inversion  is  accounted  for  by  the  mode  in  which  the 
present  work  was  put  together.  There  is  markedly  a 
Jewish  portion  containing  an  account  of  the  martyrdom 


of  Isaiah,  and  a  purely  Christian  portion  embracing  the 
ascension  or  vision  of  the  prophet.  Combining  together 
these  two  divisions  come  a  preface  and  conclusion  of 
Christian  origin,  though  the  introduction  displays  a  not 
very  evident  connection  with  what  follows ;  and  inter- 
spersed occur  many  Jewish  and  Christian  additions,  in- 
terpolations, and  supplements.  The  first  part,  which 
(according  to  Laurence's  arrangement  of  the  work  into 
chapters  and  verses,  is  comprised  in  chaps,  ii.  1-iii.  12, 
and  v.  2—14)  contains  the  details  of  the  murder  of  Isaiah, 
and  may  be  reasonably  supposed  to  have  some  historical 
basis.  Thus  the  account  runs :  "  It  came  to  pass  after 
the  death  of  Hezekiah  that  Manasseh  reigned,  who  forgat 
his  father's  precepts,  Sammael  [=  Satan]  dwelling  in 
him  and  adhering  to  him.  He  likewise  ceased  to  worship 
the  great  and  good  God  of  his  father,  serving  Satan,  and 
his  angels,  and  his  hosts.  And  he  changed  in  his  father's 
house  the  words  of  wisdom  which  had  been  in  the  pre- 
sence of  Hezekiah  and  the  worship  of  Almighty  God 
(Eth.1).  And  he  turned  his  heart  to  serve  Berial  (Belial).2 

1  "  Eth."  refers  to  tlie  Ethiopia  text  of  Laurence  translated  by  him 
and  by  Dillmann,  "  Gr."  to  the  Greek  text  edited  by  Gebhardt.     The 
latter  here  has,  "  he  turned  aside  all  the  power  of  his  father  from  the 
service  and  worship  of  Almighty  God,  and  they  served  the  devil  and 
his  angels."  .  .  .     This  is  in  agreement  with  1  Cor.  x.  20 :  "  the 
things  which  the   Gentiles  sacrifice    they   sacrifice   unto    devils." 
Kabbinical  writers  continually  refer  to  Sammael  as  using  the  serpent 
to  tempt  Eve  (see  the  Targum  on  Gen.  iii.  1,  6) ;  and  he  plays  a 
great  part  in  the  death  of  Moses. 

2  Berial,  and  elsewhere  by  transposition  Beliar,  which  occurs  con- 
tinually in  the  Testimony  of  the  Twelve  Patriarchs  and  the  Book  of 
Jubilees,  is  the  same  as  Belial,  and  is  used  as  an  appellative  of  Satan. 
In  the  New  Testament,  where  it  occurs,  2  Cor.  vi.  15,  all  the  best 
MSS.  give 


(Now  Serial  is  the  angel  of  iniquity,  holding  the  dominion 
of  this  world,1  whose  name  is  Matanbukus,2  and  he  rejoiced 
over  Jerusalem  on  account  of  Manasseh,  and  held  him 
firmly  in  his  perversion  and  in  the  impiety  which  he 
disseminated  in  the  city.3)  Magic  likewise  was  multiplied 
there ;  incantation,  augury,  divination,  fornication,  adul- 
tery, and  the  persecution  of  the  righteous,  by  Manasseh, 
by  Balkira,  by  Tobias  the  Canaanite,  by  John  of  Anathoth, 
and  by  Zalik  Nevaj.4  Now  when  Isaiah,  the  son  of 
Amos,  saw  the  manifold  iniquity  which  was  committed 
in  Jerusalem,  the  worship  of  Satan,  and  the  wanton  con- 
versation, he  fled  from  the  city,  and  dwelt  in  Bethlehem 
of  Judsea.  But  finding  that  much  impiety  existed  there 
also,  he  took  up  his  abode  upon  a  mountain  in  the  wilder- 
ness. Then  Micah  the  prophet,  and  Ananias  the  aged, 
and  Joel,  and  Habbakuk,  and  Josab,  his  son,  and  many 
others  who  believed  in  the  ascension  into  heaven,  with- 
drew themselves,  and  dwelt  upon  the  same  mountain. 
All  these  were  clothed  in  sackcloth ;  all  were  prophets, 
having  nothing  with  them,  naked  and  destitute  ; 5  and  all 
lamented  with  great  lamentation  the  defection  of  Israel. 
And  they  had  no  food  to  eat  except  the  wild  herbs  which 
they  plucked  upon  the  mountain  and  cooked  as  they 
could ;  and  they  and  Isaiah  remained  among  the  hills 

1  Comp.  John  xii.  31,  xvi.  11  ;  2  Cor.  iv.  4 ;  Eph.  ii.  2,  vi.  12. 

2  Elsewhere  written  Mekembekus.     Its  origin  and  its  meaning  are 
alike  unknown. 

3  This  paragraph  is  probably  a  later  Jewish  addition. 

4  The  last  name  is  inexplicable,  and  the  history  of  the  persons 
mentioned  is  unknown.    Balkira  is  sometimes  confused  with  Malkira  ; 
but  the  latter  seems  to  be  identified  with  Sammael. 

5  One  is  again  reminded  of  the  passage  in  Heb.  xi.  37,  38. 


two  whole  years.  Afterwards,  while  they  continued  in 
the  wilderness,  there  was  a  certain  man  in  Samaria,  named 
Balkira,  of  the  kindred  of  Zedekiah,  son  of  Canaan,  a 
false  prophet,  who  dwelt  at  Bethlehem.  Zedekiah,  the 
brother  of  his  father,  was  he  who,  in  the  days  of  Ahab, 
king  of  Israel,  was  the  master  of  four  hundred  prophets 
of  Baal,  and  who  smote  upon  the  cheek  and  reproved 
Michaiah,  the  son  of  Amida.  .  .  .  Now  Balkira  perceived 
and  marked  the  place  where  were  Isaiah  and  the  prophets 
with  him ;  for  he  dwelt  at  Bethlehem,  and  was  attached 
to  Manasseh.  He  also  prophesied  falsehood  in  Jerusalem, 
where  many  consorted  with  him,  though  he  was  a  Samari- 
tan. .  .  .  Now  Balkira  accused  Isaiah  and  the  other 
prophets,  saying :  Isaiah  and  his  companions  prophesy 
against  Jerusalem  and  against  the  cities  of  Judah,  saying 
that  they  shall  be  laid  waste,  and  that  Benjamin  also  shall 
go  into  captivity,  and  against  thee,  0  king,  that  in  a  cage1 
and  in  iron  chains  thou  shalt  be  carried  off.  They  also 
prophesy  falsely  against  Israel  and  Judah.  Isaiah  says  :  I 
see  more  than  Moses  the  prophet  saw ;  Moses  asserted, 
No  man  can  see  God  and  live ;  but  Isaiah  says,  I  have 
seen  God,  and,  behold,  I  live.  Know,  therefore,  0  king, 
that  these  are  false  prophets.  Jerusalem  also  Isaiah  has 
called  Sodom,  and  the  princes  of  Judah  and  Jerusalem 
has  he  declared  to  be  people  of  Gomorrah.  Thus  he 
constantly  accused  Isaiah  and  the  prophets  before 
Manasseh.  Now  Berial  dwelt  in  the  heart  of  Manasseh, 
as  well  as  in  the  hearts  of  the  princes  of  Judah  and 
Benjamin,  and  of  the  eunuchs  and  counsellors  of  the 

1  "In  cavea,"  Dillm. ;  y*te»yp*ist  Gr. ;  "Galeagra,"  Frag.  Vat. 
Comp.  2  Chron.  xxxiii.  11 ;  Ezek.  xix.  9,  Sept. 


king.  And  the  accusation  of  Balkira  pleased  him 
exceedingly  ;  and  Manasseh  sent  and  apprehended  Isaiah. 
For  Berial  was  very  wroth  with  Isaiah  on  account  of  the 
vision,  concerning  the  advent  of  Messiah,1  and  sawed  him 
asunder  with  a  wooden  saw.2  Now  while  they  were 
sawing  him,  Balkira  stood  by  accusing  him,  and  all  the 
false  prophets  stood  there  deriding  and  triumphing  over 
him.  Yea,  Balkira  and  Mekembekus  stood  before  him 
uttering  derision  and  reproaches.  Then  Beliar  said  to 
Isaiah :  '  Say,  I  have  lied  in  everything  which  I  have 
spoken,  and  the  ways  of  Manasseh  are  good  and  right, 
and  good  are  the  ways  of  Balkira  and  those  who  are  with 
him.'  This  he  said  to  him  when  they  began  to  saw 
him.  But  Isaiah  was  in  a  vision  of  the  Lord,  with  his 
eyes  open,  and  he  beheld  them.3  Then  Malkira  (i.e. 
Beliar)  thus  addressed  him :  '  Say  that  which  I  tell  thee, 
and  I  will  turn  their  hearts,  and  will  compel  Manasseh, 
and  the  princes  of  Judah,  and  the  people,  and  all  Jer- 
usalem, to  reverence  thee.'  But  Isaiah  answered  and 
said :  '  If  the  matter  rests  with  me,  cursed  art  thou  in 
every  word  that  thou  speakest,  thou,  and  all  thy  hosts, 
and  all  thy  followers ;  for  thou  canst  not  deprive  me  of 

1  We  pass  on  here  to  chap,  v.,  the  intervening  portion  being  an 
interpolation  giving  an  account  of  the  vision,  which  is  afterwards 
expanded  and  augmented  by  new  particulars,  containing  the  history 
of  Jesus  and  His  Church. 

2  So  Eth.     In  the  Greek  legend  the  king  orders  him  to  be  sawed 
asunder  with  an  iron  saw  ;  but  the  instrument,  though  plied  for 
some  hours,   is  unable  to   enter  his   flesh.     Then  Isaiah   reminds 
Manasseh  that  it  is  ordained  that  he  shall  be  sawed  in  pieces  with  a 
wooden  saw  ;  the  tool  accordingly  is  changed,  and  the  execution  is 

3  In  the  account  of  the  vision  given  later,  chap.  vi.  10,  the  prophet 
is  rapt  in  ecstasy,  and  does  not  see  the  men  who  stand  before  him. 


more  than  the  skin  of  my  body/  Then  they  seized 
Isaiah,  the  son  of  Amos,  and  sawed  him  asunder  with  a 
wooden  saw.  And  Manasseh  and  Balkira  and  the  false 
prophets,  the  princes  and  the  people,  all  stood  looking  on. 
But  Isaiah  said  to  the  prophets  who  were  with  him,  before 
he  was  cut  asunder :  'Go  ye  into  the  country  of  Tyre 
and  Sidon,  for  the  Lord  Almighty  hath  mixed  the  cup  for 
me  alone.'  And  neither,  while  they  were  sawing  him, 
did  he  cry  out  nor  weep,  but  he  continued  in  converse 
with  the  Holy  Spirit  till  he  was  sawn  asunder." 

Such,  with  a  few  omissions  which  merely  add  some 
particulars  concerning  persons  named,  is  the  original 
Jewish  account  of  the  martyrdom  of  Isaiah.  This,  as  we 
have  seen,  was  known  to  the  early  Fathers.  Eound  it 
have  gathered  various  legends  and  accretions,  which  the 
critical  acumen  of  scholars  has  now  separated  from  the 
body  of  the  work  and  assigned  to  different  authorship 
and  later  periods.  But  the  simple  record  itself  is  founded 
on  Jewish  tradition  which  still  exists  in  Talmudic 
writings,  though  there  is  some  variety  in  details,  one 
story  being  that  the  prophet,  flying  from  his  enemies,  was 
miraculously  hidden  by  a  carob-tree  which  swallowed 
him  up ;  and  that  workmen  came  and  sawed  down  the 
tree,  when  the  blood  of  Isaiah  flowed.1  In  this  portion 
of  the  work  there  is  no  trace  of  a  Christian  hand ;  all  is 
unmistakably  Jewish,  and  is  filled  with  Jewish  names, 
Berial,  Sammael,  Matambukus,  Balkira,  Malkira,  etc. ;  so 
that  we  may  regard  the  section  as  an  independent 
pamphlet,  embodying  a  very  ancient  tradition,  widely 
disseminated  and  largely  credited. 

1  See  Laurence,  pp.  151  ff. 


The  second  division  of  the  present  book  is  an  account 
of  the  Ascension  or  Vision  of  Isaiah  composed  by  a 
Christian  Jew,  and  probably  in  its  original  form  quite 
distinct  from  the  treatises  with  which  it  was  afterwards 
associated.  In  the  Venetian  edition  it  appears  as  a  com- 
plete work,  with  the  title,  Visio  mirabilis  Ysaice  Prophetce, 
etc.,  and  concluding  with  the  words,  "Explicit  visio 
Ysaise  Prophetse."  It  is  found  in  chaps,  vi.  1-xi.  1, 
23-40  (Eth.),  the  gap  in  chap.  xi.  between  vers.  1  and 
23,  which  in  the  existing  Ethiopic  is  occupied  by  a 
Christian  interpolation,  being  supplied  by  a  few  words  in 
the  Venetian  edition,  where  the  interpolation  is  not 
inserted.  It  is  separated  from  the  rest  of  the  work  in 
the  Abyssinian  book  by  a  distinct  heading :  "  The  vision 
which  Isaiah,  the  son  of  Amos,  saw  in  the  twentieth  year 
of  the  reign  of  Hezekiah,  king  of  Judah."  Herein  Isaiah 
recounts  to  the  king,  his  own  son  Josab,  and  the 
assembled  prophets  how  that  he  was  rapt  in  spirit  and 
conducted  by  an  angel  through  the  firmament  to  the 
highest  heaven,  and  shown  first  all  the  mysteries  of  the 
six  lower  spheres,  and  at  last  those  of  the  seventh 
heaven,  as  well  as  Christ's  future  advent  on  the  earth ; 
His  descent  into  hell ;  His  return  and  glorious  Ascension 
through  each  of  the  seven  heavens  in  reward  of  the 
redemption  which  He  won.  Of  this  narrative  the  follow- 
ing particulars  will  give  some  idea.  While  Isaiah  was 
conversing  with  Hezekiah  on  the  subject  of  righteousness 
and  faith,  all  those  who  were  gathered  there  heard  the 
door  of  the  chamber  opened  and  the  voice  of  the  Spirit, 
and  they  all  fell  down  and  worshipped  the  glorious  God. 
And  Isaiah  held  converse  with  the  Holy  Spirit :  his  soul 


was  rapt  in  ecstasy  ;  he  no  longer  saw  the  men  who  were 
before  him ;  his  eyes  were  open,  his  mouth  silent,  yet  he 
continued  to  breathe ;  and  he  beheld  a  vision  which  was 
shown  to  him  by  an  angel  sent  from  the  highest  heaven, 
whose  glory  and  office  were  inexpressibly  great,  but  his 
name  was  concealed.  First,  he  was  taken  to  the  fir- 
mament where  Sammael  and  his  powers  reigned,  and 
were  at  continual  strife  with  one  another,  even  as  the 
battle  is  always  raging  on  earth,  and  will  continue  till 
He  that  is  coming  shall  appear  and  put  an  end  to  it. 
Thence  he  mounts  to  the  first  heaven,  where  he  sees  a 
throne  in  the  midst,  and  angels  on  the  right  hand  and  on 
the  left  glorifying  One  whom  he  saw  not ;  but  those  on 
the  right  were  more  splendid  and  more  perfect  than  the 
others.  In  the  second  heaven  the  same  scene,  only  more 
magnificent,  is  beheld ;  and  the  prophet  falls  down  to 
worship,  but  is  checked  by  the  angel,  who  bids  him  reserve 
his  adoration  till  he  reaches  the  seventh  heaven.  (Comp. 
Eev.  xxii.  8,  9.)  "  For,"  he  says,  "  above  all  the  heavens 
and  their  angels  thy  throne  is  set,  and  thy  clothing  and 
thy  crown  which  thou  thyself  shalt  behold."  The  third 
heaven,  whither  Isaiah  was  next  conducted,  was  notable 
for  there  being  no  mention  there  of  what  goes  on  in  this 
world,  though  all  is  perfectly  known.  The  fourth  heaven 
was  reached,  and  the  glory  of  the  angels  and  of  Him  that 
sat  on  the  throne  was  still  greater  than  before,  the  dis- 
tinction between  those  on  the  right  and  left  hands  being 
still  maintained.  The  same  effects  still  more  intensified 
were  found  in  the  fifth  heaven.  But  the  sixth  heaven 
was  more  glorious  than  any  which  he  had  seen,  so  that 
he  deemed  the  brilliancy  of  the  five  lower  spheres  mere 


darkness  in  comparison  with  this.  Here  was  no  throne, 
and  all  the  attendant  angels  were  equal  in  splendour,  the 
difference  between  the  sides  existing  no  longer  ;  and  all 
invoked  with  one  voice  the  First,  the  Father,  and  His 
Beloved,  and  the  Holy  Spirit.  At  this  stage  of  his 
ascension,  Isaiah  received  a  dim  intimation  of  the  fate 
that  awaited  him — viz.  that  he  should  participate  in  the 
lot  of  the  Lord,  a  tree  being  concerned  in  the  future  of 
both  (i.e.  the  wooden  saw  and  the  cross).  It  was  further 
said  to  him :  "  When  from  an  alien  body  by  the  angel 
of  the  Spirit  thou  hast  ascended  hither,  then  thou  shalt 
receive  the  clothing  which  thou  shalt  behold,  and  other 
numbered,  laid-up  clothings  shalt  thou  see  ;  and  then  thou 
shalt  be  equal  to  the  angels  in  the  seventh  heaven." 
Hearing  this,  the  prophet  entreats  that  he  may  never 
again  return  to  earth,  but  is  told  that  his  time  is  not  yet 
accomplished,  Then,  lastly,  he  is  raised  to  the  aether  of 
the  seventh  heaven.  And  the  angel  who  dwells  above 
the  splendour  of  the  sixth  heaven  would  fain  have 
prohibited  his  ascent ;  but  the  Lord,  whose  name  he 
cannot  know  while  in  the  body,  bade  him  come  up,  for 
his  clothing  was  there.  Arrived  there,  he  saw  a  mar- 
vellous light  and  angels  innumerable  ;  he  saw  also  all  the 
saints  from  Adam,  Abel,  and  Enoch,  not  clothed  upon 
with  flesh,  but  vested  in  their  heavenly  clothing,  yet  not 
seated  on  thrones  or  decorated  with  crowns,  for  these 
latter  glories  they  should  not  attain  to  until  the  Beloved 
has  descended  into  the  world  in  the  form  of  man.1 

1  The  expression  in  the  original  Ethiopia  is  this  :  "  He  is  made 
like  unto  your  form,  and  they  shall  deem  Him  flesh  and  man." 
This  looks  like  Docetism,  but  it  may  mean  merely  that  man  shall 


But  the  prince  of  this  world  will  lay  his  hand  on  the 
Son  of  God,  and  hang  Him  on  a  tree,  and  slay  Him, 
not  knowing  who  He  is ;  and  His  descent  to  the 
earth  shall  be  concealed  also  from  the  heavens.  Then 
he  shall  descend  into  hell  and  make  havoc  there,  and, 
having  escaped  from  the  angel  of  death,  on  the  third 
day  He  shall  rise,  and  shall  continue  in  the  world  five 
hundred  and  forty-five  days ; l  and  He  shall  ascend 
into  the  seventh  heaven,  and  many  of  the  saints  shall 
ascend  with  Him,  and  then  at  length  they  shall  receive 
their  clothing,  and  thrones,  and  crowns.  Then  Isaiah  is 
shown  books  in  which  were  contained  all  the  history  of 
Israel :  and  everything  that  is  done  upon  earth  is  known 
in  this  region.  He  is  bidden  worship  One  standing, 
whose  glory  was  great  and  wonderful,  and  whom  all  the 
saints  adored,  but  who  was  transformed  into  the  likeness 
of  an  angel  before  Isaiah  worshipped  Him ;  and  also 
another  glorious  being  on  the  left  of  the  other,  who,  he 
was  told,  was  the  angel  of  the  Holy  Spirit  who  speaks  in 
the  saints  and  prophets.  The  great  glory  that  was  next 
revealed  blinded  him,  and  neither  he  nor  the  angels 
could  look  thereon ;  only  the  saints  were  enabled  to 
behold  it.  "  Then,"  it  is  added,  "  I  saw  that  my  Lord 
worshipped,  and  the  angel  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  both 

fail  to  recognise  His  divinity.  The  Venetian  document  lias  simply  : 
*'  He  shall  be  in  your  form."  The  rest  of  the  clause,  as  well  as  the 
introduction  of  the  name  Christ  here  and  elsewhere  in  the  vision,  is 
doubtless  an  interpolation. 

1  I.e.  365  +  180  days.  This  was  an  opinion  held  by  the  Valen- 
tin ians  and  Ophites,  according  to  Irenaeus,  Adv.  Hceres.  i.  1.  5  and  i. 
34.  This  statement  of  time  is  absent  from  the  old  Latin  version,  and 
seems  to  be  a  heretical  gloss  which  has  crept  into  the  text. 



together  glorified  God  Almighty." l  He  to  whom  all  the 
worship  in  heaven  and  earth  is  addressed,  is  the  Highest, 
"  the  Father  of  my  Lord ; "  and  He  sends  forth  the  Lord 
Christ  into  the  earth,  even  unto  the  infernal  regions,  and 
no  one,  not  even  the  angels  of  the  lower  heavens,  know 
who  or  what  He  is,  as  He  assimilates  His  form  to  that 
of  the  inhabitants  of  the  various  regions  through  which 
He  passes,  till  the  time  come  when  judgment  shall  be 
executed  on  the  evil  principalities  and  powers,  and  He 
shall  ascend  with  great  glory  and  sit  at  the  right  hand 
of  God.2  Then  He  is  recognised,  and  all  the  saints  and 
angels  adore  Him,  while  He  sits  at  the  right  hand  of  the 
great  Glory,  and  the  angel  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  seated 
on  the  left  hand.  Having  seen  and  heard  these  things, 
Isaiah  is  dismissed,  and  his  spirit  returns  to  earth  to 
wait  till  the  time  of  his  martyrdom  is  fulfilled.  It  is 
far  from  improbable  that  the  author  of  this  section  was 
acquainted  with  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John,  if  we  may 
judge  from  the  language  and  images  which  he  employs, 
though  unhappily  his  loose  and  unqualified  expressions 
bore  a  very  different  meaning  to  Arians  and  other 

Such  is  the  second  portion  of  our  book,  which,  together 
with  the  first  part  containing  the  martyrdom,  is  combined 
into  one  volume  by  additions  in  the  form  of  prelude  and 
epilogue,  which  may  be  called  the  third  part,  and  which  is 
comprised  in  chap.  i.  (excepting  vers.  3  and  4a)  and  the 

1  The  error  which  endeared  the  treatise  to  heretics  leaks  out  here. 

2  The  passage  which  here  follows  in  Eth.  (chap.  xi.  2-22)  contains 
a  garbled  account  of  the  birth  of  Christ,  and  of  His  life  and  death. 
It  does  not  occur  in  the  old  Latin,  nor  in  the  Greek  version  edited 
by  Gebhardt,  and  seems  to  be  out  of  place  in  the  vision. 



two  final  verses  of  chap.  xi.  This  part  merely  repeats 
the  information,  that  Hezekiah  in  the  twenty-sixth  year 
of  his  reign  delivered  to  Manasseh,  in  the  presence  of 
Isaiah  and  Josab,  the  visions  which  had  been  imparted 
to  himself  and  the  prophet,  and  impressed  upon  him 
certain  warnings  and  instructions  ;  all  of  which  Manasseh 
soon  forgot  and  disobeyed  ;  and  Isaiah  predicted  his  own 
death  at  the  command  of  Manasseh.  These  brief  details 
are  amplified  by  some  rabbinical  and  Christian  fictions. 
The  tractate  thus  arranged  has  been  at  various  times 
increased  and  decorated  by  many  additions  and  supple- 
ments, the  work  of  Christian  hands,  so  that  what 
Dillrnann  terms  Part  IV.  contains  a  large  amount  of  the 
present  text  —  viz.  chaps,  iii.  13—  v.  1,  xi.  2—22,  41,  i.  3, 
4&,  v.  15,  16.  Of  the  first  part  of  this  section,  viz. 
chaps,  iii.  13—  v.  1,  there  is,  as  we  have  said,  no  trace  in 
the  Greek  legend  lately  published,  which  certainly  con- 
tains extracts  from  the  other  three  divisions  of  the  work, 
and  hence  we  may  conclude  that  it  was  a  separate 
tractate  not  at  first  connected  with  our  book.  In  this 
fourth  section  we  have  not  only  an  account  of  Manasseh's 
crime,  but  also  an  apocalypse  of  Christ's  life  upon  earth, 
and  the  fate  of  the  Christian  Church  between  the  Lord's 
ascension  into  heaven  and  His  return  to  judgment. 
We  may  note  a  few  points  worthy  of  observation  in  this 
section.  The  rancour  of  Berial  against  Isaiah  is  here 
stated  to  be  caused  by  the  prophet's  vision  and  denuncia- 
tion of  Sammael,  and  revelation  respecting  the  coming  of 
the  Beloved,  and  the  doings  of  His  twelve  followers. 
Christ's  sepulchre  is  opened  on  the  third  day  by  the 
angel  of  the  Christian  Church  which  is  in  heaven,  and 


the  angel  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  the  archangel  Michael. 
The  term  "  angel  of  the  Spirit "  occurs,  as  we  have  seen, 
elsewhere  in  our  book  (cf.  xi.  4),  and  is  supposed  by 
Dillmann  to  be  used,  because  in  the  later  writings  of  the 
Old  Testament  an  angel  is  represented  as  discharging  the 
prophetical  office  of  the  Spirit,  e.g.  in  Zechariah,  where 
the  visions  are  unfolded  by  the  angel  that  talked  with  him. 
Thus  in  the  Pastor  of  Hermas  we  read  of  "  the  angel  of  the 
prophetical  spirit,"  and  in  the  Apocalypse  of  Baruch  there 
is  mention  of  "  Eamiel  who  presides  over  the  visions  of 
truth."  And  by  a  loose  kind  of  terminology  all  the 
inhabitants  of  heaven,  save  God  the  Father,  are  called 
angels ;  even  as  Origen  speaks  of  "  the  two  seraphim 
with  six  wings,  the  only-begotten  Son  of  God,  and  the 
Holy  Ghost." l  In  this  portion  of  the  book  Isaiah  fore- 
tells the  existence  of  great  disputes  respecting  the  second 
coming  of  Christ,  many  on  this  subject  forsaking  the 
doctrine  of  the  apostles,  a  fact  which  we  know  also  from 
St.  Peter's  own  words  and  from  expressions  of  others, 
e.g.  Clemens  Eomanus.2  There  shall  be  multitudes  of 
iniquitous  "  elders  and  pastors,  oppressors  of  their  flocks," 
and  but  few  prophets  or  teachers  of  assured  truths,  on 
account  of  the  worldliness  and  vice  which  shall  prevail. 
Before  the  end  Antichrist  will  come,  Berial,  the  prince 
of  this  world.  Here  we  have  an  enunciation  of  the 
curious  myth  concerning  Nero  which  is  found  in  the 
Sibylline  Oracles.3  According  to  this  opinion,  Berial 

1  Herm.  Past.  Hand.  xi.  9  ;  Apoc.  Bar.  Iv.  3  ;  Orig.  De  Princip.  i.  3. 

2  2  Pet.  iii.  1  ff.  ;  Clem.  Eom.  Epist.  ad  Cor.  xxiii. 

3  Orac.  Sibyll.  ii.  167,  iii.  63,  iv.  119,  where  see  Alexandras  note, 
and  the  account  in  our  next  section. 


descends  from  the  firmament  in  the  form  of  this  impious 
monarch,  "  the  matricide  ; "  in  his  hand  are  all  the 
powers  of  this  world  and  the  material  forces  of  nature, 
and  he  shall  use  them  to  draw  men  unto  him,  and  create 
a  very  wide  Apostasy,  so  that  numbers  believe  in  him 
and  serve  him,  and  own  him  as  God.  This  evil  dominion 
lasts  for  three  years,  seven  months,  and  twenty-seven 
days,  the  duration  here  specified  being  a  little  longer 
than  the  forty-two  months  of  canonical  Scripture ; l  but 
the  writer  has  arranged  the  1335  days  named  at  the 
end  of  Daniel's  prophecy  according  to  the  Julian  com- 
putation. It  is  interesting  to  note  this  quasi-solution  of 
the  "  Beast"  of  St.  John's  Eevelation  (xiii.  17,  18). 
Jolowicz 2  reckons  that,  taking  the  death  of  Nero  as 
happening  June  9,  A.D.  68,  the  reign  of  Berial  would 
begin  October  29,  A.D.  64.  At  the  close  of  this  reign, 
."  after  332  days"3  the  Lord  shall  come  from  the  seventh 
heaven  with  all  His  angels  and  saints,  and  shall  cast 
Berial  and  his  companions  into  Gehenna ;  and  the 
resurrection  shall  then  take  place,  and  the  final  judg- 
ment. To  the  holy  who  shall  be  found  on  earth  rest 
(aveats,  2  Thess.  i.  7)  shall  be  given,  and  they  shall  be 
clothed  with  heavenly  garments,  and  associated  with  the 
saints  who  descend  with  the  Lord,  and  they  shall  leave 

1  Dan.  vii.  25,  xii.  7  ;  Kev.  xiii.  5.    Comp.  Dan.  xii.  12.    Georgius 
Cedrenus,  quoted  by  Dillmann,  says  that  "  in  the  Testament  of  King 
Hezekiah  Isaiah  asserts  that  Antichrist  shall  reign  for  three  years 
and  seven  months,  being  1290  days." 

2  Himmelfahrt  und  Vision  des  Proph.  Jesaia,  p.  9. 

3  It  seems  probable  that  the  numerals  are  here  corrupt,  and  that 
"  one  thousand  "  has  fallen  out  at  the  beginning,  and  that  the  "  five  " 
at  the  end  has  been  changed  into  "  two,"  the  original  number  being, 
as  above,  1335. 


their  bodies  in  the  world.  There  is  no  mention  here,  or 
elsewhere,  of  any  millennial  opinions,  nor  is  Christ 
expected  to  reign  on  earth.  He  comes  to  judge  and  to 
"  consume  all  the  ungodly,  who  shall  be  as  if  they  had 
never  been  created." 1  There  are  two  or  three  other 
points  in  this  section  worthy  of  attention.  The  last 
portion  (xi.  2—22)  is  occupied  with  the  life  of  Christ  on 
earth,  wherein  can  be  recognised  some  of  the  additions 
contained  in  the  spurious  Gospels.  To  induce  Joseph 
not  to  put  away  Mary,  "  the  angel  of  the  Spirit  appears 
in  the  world  ;  "  Joseph  does  not  approach  her,  but  guards 
her  as  a  holy  virgin ;  after  two  more  months  the  pair 
were  alone  in  the  house  together,  "  and  while  Mary  was 
gazing  on  the  ground  she  suddenly  perceived  with 
astonishment  an  infant  lying  before  her,  and  found  that 
she  had  been  delivered  of  a  child."  Joseph,  observing 
what  had  come  to  pass,  "  glorified  God  because  the  Lord 
had  come  to  His  inheritance."  He  is  warned  to  tell 
the  occurrence  to  no  one,  lest  the  Divine  nature  of  the 
child  should  be  divulged.  But  reports  were  circulated 
in  Bethlehem,  some  saying  that  the  Virgin  Mary  was 
confined  before  she  had  been  two  months  married ;  others 
affirming  that  she  did  not  bring  forth  at  all ;  for  "  all 
knew  about  Him,  but  knew  not  whence  He  was ; "  and 
He  "  was  concealed  from  all  the  heavens,  and  the 
principalities,  and  the  gods  of  this  world."  This  last 
assertion  is  found  in  many  passages  of  the  Fathers, 

1  This  expression  does  not  necessarily  point  to  the  absolute 
annihilation  of  the  wicked  ;  it  is  parallel  to  the  words  in  Job  x.  19  : 
"  I  should  have  been  as  though  I  had  not  been  ;  I  should  have  been 
carried  from  the  womb  to  the  grave." 


and  notably  in  the  Epistle  of  Ignatius  to  the  Ephesians 
(xix.),  where  it  is  said  that  the  prince  of  this  world 
comprehended  neither  the  virginity  of  Mary,  nor  her 
bearing  of  the  child,  nor  the  death  of  the  Lord.1  Christ's 
descent  into  hell  is  plainly  affirmed,  the  expression 
being  in  one  place  (xi.  19),  "  He  descended  to  the  angel " 
(i.e.  of  death),  and  in  another  (iv.  21),  "the  descent  of 
the  Beloved  to  the  infernal  regions."  The  old  Latin  of 
ix.  1 5  adds  particulars  not  in  the  Ethiopic  version : 
"  He  shall  descend  into  hell,  and  make  it  desolate  and  all 
its  visions,  and  shall  seize  the  prince  of  death,  and  shall 
make  him  His  prey,  and  confound  all  his  powers."  And 
in  an  earlier  passage  (x.  8)  a  distinction  is  drawn  between 
hell  (inferi)  and  the  abyss  of  perdition  (dbaddon) ;  the 
latter  region  Christ  does  not  enter.  It  is  "  the  pit  of  the 
abyss  "  of  St.  John  (Rev.  ix.  1,  etc.).  Isaiah  adds  that 
this  event  in  the  life  of  the  Beloved  is  written  in  the 
section  of  his  prophecy  where  the  Lord  says,  "  Behold 
my  servant  shall  understand."  This  can  refer  only  to 
chap.  lii.  13,  where  we  read:  "Behold,  my  servant  shall 
do  wisely,"  which  is  the  introduction  to  the  famous 
Messianic  chapter  liii.  The  following  paragraph  is 
remarkable :  "  All  these  things  are  written  in  Psalms : 
in  the  Parables  of  David  the  son  of  Jesse,  and  in  the 
Proverbs  of  Solomon  his  son,  and  in  the  words  of  Kore, 
and  Ethan  the  Israelite,  and  in  the  words  of  Asaph,  and 
in  the  rest  of  the  Psalms,  which  the  angel  of  the  Spirit 
has  inspired ;  also  in  the  words  of  those  whose  name  is 
not  inscribed,  and  in  the  words  of  Amos,  my  father," 

1  References  will  be  found  in  the    commentators  on  the  above 
passage  of  Ignatius,  e.g.  Funk,  p.  187. 


and  of  the  other  eleven  minor  prophets,  "  and  in  the 
words  of  righteous  Joseph  and  Daniel."  Here,  we  may 
note,  "  Psalms "  is  a  general  title,  including  what 
follows ;  "  Parables "  would  be  applied  to  the  didactic 
poems  in  the  Psalter,  called  Maschil  in  the  titles.  The 
composite  authorship  of  the  Psalter  is  acknowledged,  the 
songs  of  the  sons  of  Korah  being  distinguished  from  those 
of  Ethan  and  Asaph.  Ethan  is  called  "  Israelite  "  by  the 
LXX.  (Ps.  Ixxxviii.  1),  where  the  Hebrew  gives  "Ezra- 
hite."  It  is  strange  that  neither  Jeremiah  nor  Ezeldel 
are  mentioned ;  but  Nitzsch  gives  a  parallel  from  the 
Second  Book  of  Esdras  i.  39,  40,1  where  the  twelve 
minor  prophets  are  enumerated,  and  none  of  the  four 
greater  ones.  The  confusion  between  Amos  the  prophet 
and  Amoz  the  father  of  Isaiah  is  not  peculiar  to  our 
author ;  even  the  great  Clemens  Alexandrinus  fell  into 
the  same  error,  owing  to  ignorance  of  Hebrew.  What  is 
to  be  understood  by  "  the  words  of  Joseph "  is  a  dis- 
puted question.  Dillmann  conjectures  that  the  ex- 
pression refers  to  a  pseudepigraphal  work  mentioned  by 
Eabricius,2  and  entitled  The  Prayer  of  Joseph,3  though  it 
is  not  clear  why  this  spurious  book  should  be  alone 
named  among  the  canonical  writings  specified. 

Having  thus  briefly  examined  the  contents  of  the 
whole  work,  we  are  in  a  position  to  consider  its  origin 
and  date. 

That  the  book  was  written  originally  in  the   Greek 

1  The  Fourth  Book  in  the  old  Latin. 

2  God.  Pseud.  Vet.  Test.  i.  761  if. 

3  In  the  Ghronographia  of  Nieephoms  among  the  Old  Testament 
Apocrypha  occurs  TLpwsvxn  'luoqQ,  containing  1100  verses  ;  it  is  also 
found  in  Montfaucon's  Catalogue. 


language  might  be  presupposed  from  the  ascertained 
source  of  analogous  works  which  have  "been  found  in 
Abyssinia;  the  presumption  is  confirmed  by  internal 
evidence.  We  are  often  confronted  with  expressions 
which  are  plainly  derived  from,  or  are  clumsy  or 
erroneous  renderings  of,  Greek  terms.  Thus  an  angel  is 
sent  expressly  from  the  seventh  heaven  to  make  a 
revelation  to  the  prophet ;  but  in  vii.  21  we  read : 
"Worship  not  the  throne  of  him  who  is  of  the  sixth 
heaven,  from  whence  I  have  been  sent  to  conduct  thee, 
.  .  .  worship  in  the  seventh  heaven ; "  where  the 
translator  has  been  misled  by  the  oOev,  which  here  means 
"  wherefore."  The  Venetian  edition  gives  "  propter  hoc." 
Again,  what  is  evidently  §C  avrov  in  the  original  (iii.  13) 
is  translated  "  on  account  of  him,"  instead  of  "  by  means 
of  him."  "  He  who  rests  in  the  saints  "  is  o  ev  aytoi? 
avaTravoiJLevos  (vi.  8) ;  in  vii.  9  the  translator  has  con- 
fused 6/jLL\la  with  o/LuXo?,  and  given  "  speeches  "  instead 
of  "assemblies  ;  "  "I  preserve  thee,"  xi.  34,  is  a  mistaken 
version  of  a7ra\\do-cra)  ere,  "  I  dismiss  thee  ;  "  iii.  26,  28  : 
"  there  shall  be  calumnies  and  calumniators  many,"  "  the 
spirit  of  empty  honour  (/cevoSogias)  and  of  love  of  money  " 
(fyikapyvpias)  ;  "  the  pious  worshippers,"  rot?  evcrefieai ; 
"  Him  of  the  great  glory,"  TOV  TT}?  fj,e<yd\r]<;  80^779. 
Joseph  "  came  unto  her  (Mary's)  portion "  (pepiSa),  i.e. 
she  was  allotted  to  him  as  wife;  where  Dillmann  com- 
pares the  expression  in  Protevang.  Jaccibi,  viii. :  &v 
KeK\7jpa)crai,  rrjv  irapOevov  Kvptov  Trapakafielv.  There  are 
many  tokens  of  the  use  of  the  Greek  version  of  the  Old 
Testament.  Thus  we  read,  iv.  1 9  :  "  the  remainder  of  the 
vision  is  written  in  the  vision  of  Babylon."  The 


reference  is  to  Isa.  xiii.  1,  where  the  Hebrew  has  "  the 
burden  of  Babylon,"  but  the  Septuagint,  "  the  vision 
which  Isaiah  saw  against  Babylon."  Again,  Isa.  lii.  1 3  is 
quoted  (Ascens.  iv.  21)  thus:  "Behold,  my  son  shall 
understand,"  which  is  in  accordance  with  the  Greek, 
while  the  Hebrew  gives,  "  My  servant  shall  deal  wisely." 
The  Latin  Vulgate,  the  Sibylline  Oracles,  and  the  Apos- 
tolical Constitutions  agree  here  with  the  Greek  and  the 
Ascension.  In  calling  Ethan  "the  Israelite,"  our  book, 
as  we  have  seen,  reproduces  the  error  of  the  Septuagint. 
Zedekiah,  son  of  Chenaanah  (1  Kings  xxii.  11)  is  called 
(Ascens.  ii.  12)  "son  of  Canaan,"  which  is  the  appellation 
given  him  by  the  LXX.  In  chap.  iii.  2,  it  is  stated  that 
Shalmaneser  carried  away  nine  of  the  tribes  captive  to 
Media,  "  and  the  rivers  of  Tazon ; "  the  Hebrew  has 
"  Gozan,"  but  some  MSS.  of  the  Septuagint  show 
"  Tazan,"  2  Kings  xvii.  6  and  xviii.  11.  There  is 
evidence  that  the  old  Latin  versions  were  rendered  from 
the  Greek  ;  thus  where  the  Ethiopic  gives  "  will  destroy  " 
as  the  translation  of  a  certain  word  (vii.  12),  one  Latin 
version  gives  "  interficiet,"  another  "  emundabit,"  which 
variety  could  arise  only  from  the  original  verb  being 
KaOapel  or  tca6aipr)(rei,.  The  presumption  that  the 
Abyssinian  version  was  made  from  a  Greek  original  is 
thus  greatly  confirmed.  Indeed,  throughout,  so  closely  is 
the  Greek  followed  that  Dillrnann  avows  that  it  would  be 
an  easy  task  to  retranslate  the  Abyssinian  into  the  very 
wording  of  the  original.  That  the  present  version  was 
made  in  the  earliest  days  of  the  Abyssinian  Church  is 
considered  to  be  demonstrated  by  its  agreement  in  diction 
with  other  similar  works  composed  under  the  same  circum- 


stances,  by  the  occasional  introduction  of  unusual  or 
obsolete  words,  and  by  the  uncertainty  of  the  orthography 
which  appertains  to  all  primitive  Ethiopic  literature. 
But  how  it  came  to  be  thus  honoured  and  preserved  is  a 
question  not  yet  satisfactorily  solved.  Probably,  as  the 
"  vision  "  was  considered  to  support  certain  Gnostic  or 
quasi  -  Gnostic  opinions,  it  obtained  currency  in  Egypt 
where  such  tenets  prevailed,  and  the  other  sections  were 
usually  combined  with  it  in  one  volume.  Certainly 
Origen  and  Tertullian  were  acquainted  only  with  the 
"  martyrdom  "  proper,  without  any  of  the  additions  and 
interpolations  afterwards  added  to  it. 

The  section  containing  the  martyrdom  is  doubtless  of 
purely  Jewish  origin,  and  of  earlier  date  than  the  rest  of 
the  work.  It  is  simply  a  legendary  narrative,  invented, 
or  compiled  from  tradition,  in  order  to  glorify  the 
prophet,  and  containing  nothing  apocalyptic.  The 
author,  or  authors,  of  the  remainder  were  Jewish  Chris- 
tians, well  versed  in  Hebrew  lore  and  the  legends  which 
rabbinical  literature  had  accumulated.  The  opinion  that 
the  heavens  are  seven  in  number  is  found  in  the  Talmud, 
and  in  such  works  as  the  Testaments  of  the  Twelve 
Patriarchs ;  the  name  Sammael,  for  Satan,  is  a  rabbinical 
term  not  occurring  in  Scripture ; 1  the  notion  of  the 
clothing  of  souls  being  stored  up  in  heaven  in  readiness 
for  assumption  at  the  proper  moment  is  one  that  appears 
in  Talmudic  writings.2  From  such  considerations  we 

1  For  rabbinical  lore  concerning  Sammael,  or  Satan,  consult  Dr. 
Edersheim,  Life  and  Times  of  Jesus,  vol.  ii.  App.  xiii. 

2  See  Jolowicz,  pp.  11  ff.,  where  quotations  from  Talmudic  works 
are  given. 


may  conclude  what  were  the  religion  and  nationality  of 
the  writer.  The  vision  is  founded  on  the  fact  that 
Isaiah  is  represented  in  Scripture  as  having  seen  the 
Lord.  This,  of  course,  was  felt  to  be  impossible  in  the 
ordinary  sense  of  the  words.  The  vision  must  be 
vouchsafed  under  supernatural  conditions ;  hence  the 
prophet  is  raised  to  an  ecstatic  state ;  his  soul  is 
separated  from  its  earthly  tenement,  and  is  exalted  to 
the  highest  heaven.  Accordingly,  the  work  which 
records  this  rapture  is  properly  named  'AvaftaTLKov, 
Ascensio,  as  well  as  opaaw,  visio.  We  find  a  similar 
double  appellation  applied  to  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John, 
which  in  the  early  Christian  centuries  was  also  known  as 
'AvafiariKov.1  There  is  no  similar  trance  recorded  in 
the  Old  Testament ;  for  an  analogous  transaction  we 
must  refer  to  the  scene  where  the  beloved  apostle 
"  became  in  the  spirit  on  the  Lord's  day,"  or  where  St. 
Paul  was  caught  up  even  to  the  third  heaven,  and  carried 
into  Paradise  on  another  occasion,  whether  in  the  body  or 
out  of  the  body  he  knew  not,  and  heard  unspeakable 
words.2  Both  in  St.  Paul's  case  actually,  and  in  that  of 
Isaiah  supposedly,  the  vision  was  granted  in  order  to 
strengthen  the  recipients  for  the  trials  that  awaited 
them,  and  to  teach  that  all  things  are  foreknown  and 
foreordained,  and  that  the  troubles  of  this  life  are  not 
worthy  to  be  compared  with  the  glory  that  shall  be 

As  regards  the  date  of  this  production,  we  see  that  its 
various  parts  belong  to  different  ages  and  authors.     The 

1  Nitzsch  in  Stud,  und  Krit.  1830,  i.  215. 

2  Rev.  i.  10  ;  2  Cor.  xii.  2-4. 


first  section  narrates  an  ancient  Jewish  tradition ;  but 
there  is  nothing  found  therein  to  afford  any  indication  of 
its  age.  If,  as  we  have  seen  to  be  probable,  it  was 
known  to  Justin  Martyr,  it  was  composed  at  least 
towards  the  beginning  of  the  second  Christian  century. 
It  is,  however,  probably  very  much  earlier,  and  may 
be  regarded  as  pre-Christian,  as  it  contains  not  the  re- 
motest allusion  to  any  but  Jewish  matters.  But  the 
ascension  or  vision  contains  many  suggestions  which 
would  assign  it  to  a  period  immediately  succeeding 
the  apostolic  period,  at  any  rate  not  later  than  the 
first  ten  years  of  the  second  century.1  One  recognises 
a  compilation  of  ideas  gathered  from  the  New  Testa- 
ment, and  not  yet  reduced  to  a  formal  system  or  any 
authoritative  statement.  The  spirit  testified  in  old 
time  the  sufferings  of  Christ,  which  were  not  revealed 
unto  the  angels ;  the  Lord  comes  down  from  heaven ; 
ascends  far  above  all  heavens  and  principalities  and 
powers,  having  overcome  all  enemies ;  the  beatitude  of 
the  saints  of  the  old  covenant  is  not  perfected  till  the 
Eedeemer  has  triumphed ;  the  glory  of  the  righteous 
exceeds  that  of  the  angels.  Such  facts  as  these,  based 
on  Holy  Scripture,  are  overladen  or  interspersed  with 
notions  very  alien  from  the  simplicity  and  purity  of 
apostolic  doctrine,  and  indicating  the  taint  of  Hebrew  and 
Gnostic  error ;  but  it  is  Gnosticism  in  its  early  stage,  as 
existing  among  the  Essenes  and  Jewish  sects,  and  recog- 
nised in  some  of  the  books  of  the  New  Testament.  This 
section  shows  traces  of  having  been  edited  and  glossed 

1  These    indications    have  been  carefully  noted  by  Dillmann, 
Nitzsch,  and  others. 


by  a  Christian  of  unorthodox  sentiments,  who  held  the 
malignity  of  matter,  and  many  of  Origen's  opinions,  and 
likewise  views  concerning  Christ  which  Arians  found 
agreeable  to  their  minds.  Of  the  doctrine  of  ^Eons  and 
Emanations  there  seems  to  be  no  trace.  The  opinion  touch- 
ing the  seven  heavens  was  current  among  the  Jews  before 
Christian  times,  and  is  found  in  many  apocryphal  works 
as  well  as  in  the  Talmud.1  The  Homoousian  controversy 
is  unknown  to  the  writer  of  the  Ascension,  who  intro- 
duces statements  which  a  later  age  justly  branded  with 
heresy.  Thus  he  makes  (ix.  37-40)  the  Son  inferior  to 
the  Father ;  and  although  he  calls  Him  the  Beloved,  and 
Lord  of  all  the  heavens  and  thrones,  whose  voice  alone 
they  obey,  he  represents  the  Father  as  worshipped  in 
heaven  by  Him  and  the  Holy  Ghost.  It  is  true  that 
They  are  supposed  to  have  assumed  the  appearance  and 
attitudes  of  angels  when  They  pay  this  worship,  but  no 
one  who  held  the  Nicene  faith  would  have  made  such  a 
statement,  which  is  evidently  anterior  to  the  closer 
definition  of  a  later  age.  The  assertion  that  Christ 
remained  on  the  earth  between  His  resurrection  and 
ascension  for  one  and  a  half  years,  or  545  days  (ix.  16), 
was  a  very  early  error,  known,  as  I  have  already 
mentioned,  to  Irenseus,  and  therefore  extant  in  the 
second  century.  Indeed,  in  the  earliest  times  the 
tradition  of  the  Great  Forty  Days  which  afterwards 
obtained  seems  not  to  have  been  universally  held.  St. 
Luke,  in  his  Gospel,  apparently  joins  the  Ascension 

1  Comp.  Test.  XII.  Pair.  "  Levi,"  2  and  3  ;  and  Wetstein's  note  on 
2  Cor.  xii.  2.  Authorities  are  given  by  Dillmann  on  vi.  13  of  our 
book,  and  in  Kitto's  Cyclopoedia,  art.  "  Heaven,"  note,  p.  245. 


on  to  the  resurrection,  though  in  the  Acts  he  speaks  of 
Christ  being  seen  at  intervals  during  forty  days ;  none  of 
the  other  evangelists  mentions  the  length  of  His  earthly 
sojourn  in  this  interval.  In  the  Epistle  of  Barnabas 
(chap,  xv.),  that  Father  omits  all  mention  of  any  space  of 
time  intervening  between  Easter  Sunday  and  the  ascen- 
sion ;  Bede  reckons  forty-three  days ;  so  that  opinion  on 
this  matter  fluctuated,  and  had  not  arrived  at  a  general 
conclusion  in  the  primitive  age.  Another  mark  of  high 
antiquity  is  found  in  the  address  to  God  (vi.  8,  x.  6), 
"  the  God  of  righteousness,  higher  than  the  highest,  that 
dwelleth  in  the  saints,"  which  recalls  the  expressions  in 
the  apostolical  Father,  Clemens  Eomanus  (Ep.  ad  Cor. 
lix.  3).  The  occasional  allusions  to  the  Parousia  of 
Christ  denote  a  primitive  time.  The  question,  as  we 
know  from  references  in  the  New  Testament,1  was  largely 
debated  in  apostolic  days,  but  ceased  to  have  like  interest 
in  succeeding  ages.  In  our  author's  view  the  Second 
Advent  was  close  at  hand,  and  there  is  in  the  work  no 
trace  of  the  early  opinion  being  corrected  by  later 
circumstances  or  events.  Again,  the  writer  knows  of 
only  one  persecution  which  takes  place  before  the  final 
judgment ;  and  this  can  be  none  other  than  that  which 
was  organised  by  Nero ;  for  he  could  not  have  omitted 
that  under  Domitian  had  he  lived  after  that  tyrant ;  and 
we  have  seen  above  that  he  plainly  adumbrated  Nero, 
when  he  prophesied  of  the  coming  of  Berial  under  the 
form  of  an  impious  king.  And  as  he  assigned  the  end 
of  the  world  and  the  day  of  judgment  to  less  than  a  year 
after  this  event,  it  is  reasonable  to  conclude  that  this 
1  Comp.  2  Thess.  ii. ;  2  Pet.  iii. 


part  of  the  treatise  was  composed  at  the  beginning  of 
A.D.  69.  This  inference,  of  course,  proceeds  on  the 
assumption  that  the  writer  wishes  his  calculations  to  be 
understood  literally ;  if  his  allusions  and  statements  are 
to  be  regarded  as  ideal,  emblematical,  visionary,  no 
definition  of  time  can  be  assigned  to  them,  but  the  refer- 
ences to  events  which  they  contain  indicate  the  age  of 
the  author. 

The  apocalyptic  section  is  of  much  the  same  antiquity. 
The  corruptions  of  doctrine  and  practice  spoken  of  in 
chap,  iii.,  the  disputes  about  the  Second  Advent,  the  vice 
and  greed  of  the  pastors  who  spared  not  their  own  flocks, 
the  worldliness  and  immorality  of  professors  of  Chris- 
tianity, the  envy  and  hatred  even  among  the  teachers 
of  religion — such  errors  and  declensions  are  noticed 
both  in  the  New  Testament  and  in  the  writings  of  the 
earliest  Fathers,  such  as  Hernias.  The  organisation  of 
the  Church  was  evidently  still  in  its  infancy ;  the  rulers 
are  called  presbyters  and  pastors,  and  the  title  episcopus 
nowhere  appears ;  whereas  in  the  Didache  both  episcopus 
and  diaconus  are  found.  Prophecy  is  not  yet  silenced, 
though  greatly  diminished,  being  confined  to  a  few 
localities  and  persons.  It  is  mentioned,  we  may  remark, 
as  extant  in  Hermas's  days,  and  rules  are  given  in  the 
Pastor  for  distinguishing  the  real  from  the  false  pre- 
tender to  inspiration ;  and  we  meet  with  analogous 
statements  in  the  Didache.  These  and  such  like  hints 
indicate  a  primitive  origin,  and  could  not  have  been 
afforded  by  an  age  greatly  exceeding  the  first  Christian 
century.  It  is  solely  from  internal  evidence  that  we 
gather  the  date  of  this  portion  of  the  work,  as  none  of 


the  Fathers  or  early  writers  make  any  reference  to  it. 
Offering  no  special  support  of  catholic  dogma,  —  or 
rather  containing  some  very  questionable  statements 
and  expressions, — it  was  naturally  disregarded  and  dis- 
countenanced by  orthodox  believers ;  and,  indeed,  the 
whole  work  was  brought  into  public  notice  only  for 
polemical  purposes,  first  by  Gnostic  controversialists,  and 
afterwards  by  Arians,  and  it  was  from  a  collection  of  the 
writings  of  these  latter  heretics  that  the  old  Latin  versions 
were  obtained. 

From  what  has  been  said  we  may  reasonably  conclude 
that  the  purely  Jewish  section  of  our  book  was  composed 
just  before  or  in  the  first  Christian  century ;  that  the 
second  portion,  containing  the  "  Ascension  "  or  "  Vision," 
is  not  of  later  date  than  the  first  ten  years  of  the  second 
century,  after  which  it  was  known  to  various  heretics, 
and  used  by  them  to  confirm  their  erroneous  opinions. 
The  third  and  fourth  parts  are  of  somewhat  later 
date,  added  probably  towards  the  last  half  of  the 
second  century.  The  work  continued  known  unto 
the  fifth  century,  when  it  almost  disappeared  from 
notice,  till  rediscovered  in  the  manner  mentioned 
above,  unless  we  may  infer  that  it  always  formed 
part  of  the  Abyssinian  canon,  and  had  never  fallen  out 
of  use  in  the  Church  of  that  country,  which,  as  we 
know,  retained  much  of  Hebrew  ceremonial  and  senti- 

Unlike  some  of  the  apocryphal  and  pseudepigraphal 
books,  the  "  Ascension "  was  never  admitted  to  the 
catholic  canon  of  Scripture.  Opinion  for  some  ages 
fluctuated  as  to  the  admissibility  of  the  Wisdom  of 



Solomon,  Ecclesiasticus,  Judith,  Tobit,  etc.  Some  Con- 
ciliar  and  some  private  catalogues  allowed  their  claim 
without  hesitation ;  others  admitted  them  only  to  a 
secondary  position ;  but  none  assigned  a  first  or  even  a 
second  place  to  the  "  Ascension : "  if  it  ever  occurs  in 
any  of  the  lists  it  is  mentioned  as  certainly  apocryphal, 
and  entitled  to  no  respect  as  inspired.  If,  then,  it  be 
asked  wherein  lies  its  interest  for  us,  we  reply  that  it  is 
a  standing  witness  of  the  care  taken  in  the  early  Church 
to  confine  the  books  of  Scripture,  in  the  highest  sense,  to 
those  whose  inspiration  was  approved  by  sufficient  testi- 
mony. Shall  we  not  say  rather  that  the  Holy  Spirit 
guided  the  councils  and  authorities  of  the  Church  in 
their  final  arrangement  of  the  canon,  and  that  the 
rejection  of  such  works  as  that  which  we  have  been 
considering  was  divinely  ordered  ?  In  point  of  antiquity, 
indeed,  parts  of  it  might  probably  compete  with  portions 
of  the  New  Testament,  but  weighed  in  the  scale  with 
undisputed  Scriptures,  and  tried  by  the  standard  of 
Catholic  doctrine,  it  failed  to  stand  the  necessary  test, 
and  was  deservedly  rejected. 

It  is  interesting  also  for  another  reason.  It  affords  a 
new  example  of  that  literature  which,  as  we  have  said, 
has  been  called  Pseudepigraphic,  from  the  fact  that  the 
author  writes  under  a  false  name,  not  so  much  with  any 
intention  of  deceiving  his  readers,  but  with  the  view  of 
obtaining  a  hearing  for  his  own  feelings  and  opinions. 

And,  lastly,  as  we  have  seen  in  the  sketch  which  we 
have  given,  the  book  is  capable  of  conveying  valuable 
hints  concerning  the  history  of  the  early  Church,  and 
the  heresies  then  coming  into  existence ;  and  is  a  note- 


worthy  contribution  to  that  apocalyptic  literature  which 
prevailed  so  greatly  in  the  centuries  immediately 
preceding  and  succeeding  the  advent  of  Christ,  and 
which  even  now  for  many  minds  possesses  an  absorbing 




THE  work  thus  named  is  a  collection  of  Judaeo-Christian 
poems,  of  various  dates,  designed  to  propagate  certain 
ideas  among  heathens,  and  assuming  this  form  in  order 
to  win  acceptance  in  such  quarters.  Various  deriva- 
tions have  been  suggested  for  the  word  Sibylla,  and  it 
has  been  attributed  to  the  Hebrew  and  other  Oriental 
languages;  but  many  suppose  that  the  word  is  really 
Greek,  compounded  of  the  ^Eolic  0-409  =  #609  and  /3oXXa 
or  f3v\\a  —  fiovXrj,1  and  thus  meaning,  counsel  of  God. 
However,  it  may  well  be  doubted  whether  it  is  not  a 
feminine  form  of  the  old  Latin  word  sibus,  meaning  "  wise." 
Persibus,  or  Persicus,  is  found  in  this  sense  in  Plautus 
and  Naevius,  where  it  is  explained  by  old  grammarians 
as  =  peracutus.  Hence  the  term  signifies  "  wise  woman, 
witch."  The  name  was  applied  to  any  female  who 
affected  to  foretell  the  future,  so  that  it  may  be  taken 
to  mean  an  inspired  prophetess,  or,  as  Varro  puts  it, 
"  cujus  pectus  numen  recipit,  et  quse  vaticinatur."  She 
1  So  Alexandre,  Excurs.  ad  Sibyllina,  pp.  1  f. 



is  not  an  official  priestess,  but  one  abnormally  influenced 
by  the  Deity.  The  most  ancient  authors  speak  of  a 
Sibyl ;  but  this  idea  did  not  long  continue,  and  we  soon 
find  them  multiplied  and  assigned  to  different  localities. 
The  number  of  accredited  Sibyls  has  been  stated  some- 
times as  three  or  four,  sometimes  as  ten ;  and  the  writings 
that  are  current  under  their  name  have  been  increased 
by  later  discoveries  from  eight  books  to  fourteen — though 
the  whole  of  these  are  not  extant,  of  many  of  them 
isolated  fragments  alone  having  been  preserved.  That 
some  lines  of  the  ancient  heathen  poems  have  been 
preserved  by  classical  authors  is  well  known ;  only  one 
or  two  of  these,  however,  as  far  as  I  know,  are  found  in 
our  present  collection,  though  there  are  passages  and 
expressions  which  show  distinctly  a  pagan  origin,  as  the 
account  of  the  tower  of  Babel,  quoted  from  a  Sibyl  by 
Josephus,1  where  it  is  said  that  the  gods  sent  a  mighty 
wind  and  overthrew  the  building.  In  Asia  Minor  and 
Greece  the  Sibyllines  obtained  only  a  private  circulation, 
and  were  never  officially  collected  or  publicly  used, 
though,  even  from  the  scanty  notices  existing,  we  gather 
that  they  exercised  a  very  potent  influence  and  were 
largely  credited.  The  original  Libri  Sibyllini,  with 
which  the  name  of  King  Tarquin  is  connected,  and 
which  reached  Eome  from  Asia  by  way  of  Cuma3, 
perished  in  the  fire  which  consumed  the  temple  of 
Jupiter  Capitolinus,  B.C.  82.  Their  place  was  supplied 
by  a  collection  gathered  from  various  places  in  Greece, 
Italy,  and  Asia  Minor,  and  amounting  to  about  1000 
verses.  This  was  revised  by  order  of  Augustus,  and 
1  Antiq.  I  4.  3. 


again  by  Tiberius ;  but  has  been  preserved  only  in 
fragments  found  in  classical  authors.  The  widespread 
belief  in  the  authority  of  such  productions  led  to  the 
composition  and  circulation  of  a  quantity  of  professed 
oracles,  which  demanded  critical  investigation,  and  re- 
ceived some  such  attention  at  the  hands  of  the  emperors 
Julian  and  Honorius.  The  verses,  however,  thus  author- 
ised as  genuine  have  not  come  down  to  us  in  their 
integrity,  and  what  we  know  of  them  is  little  and 
unsatisfactory.  Servius,  in  his  commentary  on  Virgil, 
mentions  a  hundred  as  the  number  of  these  Sermones, 
and  Suidas  names  twenty-four  as  the  production  of  the 
Chaldsean  Sibyls  alone.  How  many  more  were  attri- 
buted to  the  other  Sibyls  cannot  be  known.  Our  present 
collection  is  of  Jewish  and  Christian  origin,  and  can  lay 
no  claim  to  any  high  pagan  antiquity.  So  common, 
indeed,  had  the  forging  of  these  poems  become  in  early 
Christian  times,  that  Celsus l  sneers  at  Christian  writers 
as  Si/3o\\io-Tai,  sibyl-mongers,  or  sibyl-believers.  The 
exact  relation  of  these  later  compositions  to  the  early 
group  it  is  impossible  to  determine.  Their  acceptance 
as  authentic  in  an  uncritical  age  is  no  argument  in  their 
favour ;  but  they  seem  to  have  been  considered  to  pos- 
sess some  supernatural  authority,  far  inferior,  of  course, 
to  that  of  Jewish  prophets,  but  still  originated  by  Divine 
influence.  Doubtless  the  later  Sibyls  used  some  of  the 
old  material  which  was  found  ready  to  their  hand,  though 
it  is  now  almost  impossible  to  say  what  was  borrowed 
from  floating  tradition.  A  line  here  and  there,  indeed, 
may  be  identified.  Thus,  as  of  heathen  origin  and  pro- 
1  Orig.  Cont.  Gels.  v.  6. 


bably  remnants  of  old  oracles  or   Sibylline  verses,  we 
may  cite  the  punning  couplet  in  iv.  "71  and  elsewhere  :  — 

x,xl  2«,Moi'  difAfios  olff  'oia  a,v  vir1  qioveaai  xoi' 
Be  ircLvrat,  TOC 

The  Latin  versifier  has  attempted  to   reproduce   the 
second  line  thus  :  — 

Et  Delus,  non  jam  Delus,  deleta  latebit. 

From  the  same  source  come  some  of  the  lines  in 
Book  iii.,  which,  as  we  shall  see,  narrate  the  reign  of 
Saturn  and  the  demigods  of  pagan  theology,  beginning 
with  the  building  of  the  Tower  of  Babel  on  the  plains  of 
Assyria,  when  all  men  were  of  one  language,  and  were 
animated  with  the  one  desire  of  invading  the  starry 
heaven.  This  is  partly  scriptural  ;  but  then  follows  a 
heathen  episode  :  Chronos  and  Titan  fight  one  with  the 
other,  but  are  reconciled  by  "  Ehea  and  Guia  and  Aphro- 
dite, with  her  fair  crown,  and  Demeter,  and  Vesta,  and 
Dione  with  her  beautiful  locks."  The  birth  of  Zeus 
gives  occasion  for  a  wonderful  piece  of  etymology.  To 
save  him  from  the  fate  of  her  previous  children,  Ehea 
sent  (SteVe/Mjre)  him  away  to  Phrygia  secretly,  hence 
they  call  him  Aia  because  SteTre/^fl?/."  On  a  par  with 
this  derivation  is  that  of  Hades  (i.  85),  which  takes  its 
name  from  Adam,  who  was  the  first  to  enter  it,  the 
death  of  Abel  being  ignored  for  philological  purposes.1 
Another  etymology,  not  unrecognised  by  the  Fathers,2 
is  given  to  this  name  in  Book  iii.  26,  which  Alexandre 

1  I.  82  f.  :  "At^Yiv  B'  C&VT  ix.dihtaau.V)  eirsl  irparos  ftotev  ' 

yevtrotftsvos  6avoe,rw^  yctiot,  Be  ttiv 

2  Alexandre,  p.  350  (iii.  26). 


calls  "  ingeniose  absurdus."  Here  it  is  commended  as  a 
name  of  four  letters  which  represent  the  four  quarters  of 
the  earth,  as  the  Latin  versifier  writes  :  — 

Qui  nomine  solo 
Occasus  ortusque  refert  boreamque  notumque. 

In  the  original  :  — 

Avaw  re  'Me<rYilu,fifiai/  re  x,xl  "Apxrov. 

Another  paragraph  owed  to  heathen  sources  is  one  con- 
cerning the  destruction  of  Troy  (iii.  414  ff.),  where 
Helen  is  called  "  the  Erinnys  from  Sparta,"  which  re- 
minds one  of  Virgil's  "  Trojte  et  patrise  communis 
Erinnys  "  (dUn.  ii.  578)  ;  and  another  where  Homer,  "  the 
blind  old  man  who  writes  lies,"  is  accused  of  plagiarising 
from  the  Sibyl  whose  oracles  he  was  the  first  to  use.1 
Diodorus  mentions  this  accusation  as  made  by  the  Ery- 
thraean Sibyl,  and  is  not  referring  to  our  present  book. 

The  primary  cause  of  the  composition  of  these  pro- 
ductions is  not  far  to  seek.  Given  the  existence  of  a 
body  of  such  prophetical  utterances  among  the  heathen, 
which  were  considered  of  superhuman  authority  and 
universally  credited,  it  fell  naturally  into  the  mind  of 
Jew  and  Christian  to  endeavour  to  gain  acceptance  for 
the  truths  which  they  had  to  teach,  not  only  by  tracing 
these  truths  in  the  extant  words  of  poet  and  prophetess, 
but  also  by  themselves  expressing  them  in  the  form  and 
under  the  guise  of  Sibylline  inspiration.  The  mystery 
that  enveloped  these  oracles  greatly  helped  the  impersona- 
tion, and  the  authors  thought  themselves  quite  justified 
in  their  undertaking  if  by  this  means  they  might  insinu- 
1  Alexandra,  p.  356. 


ate  the  truths  of  God's  unity  and  righteousness,  and 
disseminate  the  hopes  which  animated  their  breasts. 
That  the  Sibylline  Oracles  were  held  in  high  honour 
during  the  early  Christian  centuries  is  proved  by  the 
frequent  appeals  to  them  made  by  the  Fathers.  The 
list  of  the  writers  who  thus  used  them  includes  the 
names  of  Athenagoras,  Theophilus,  Justin  Martyr,  Lac- 
tantius,  Clemens  Alexandrinus,  Eusebius,  and  Augustine. 
Some  of  these  authors  apparently  were  acquainted  only 
with  the  heathen  books  ;  others,  as  Clemens  Alexandrinus 
and  Lactantius,.  cite  passages  of  pagan,  Jewish,  and 
Christian  authorship ;  and  while  some  attribute  to  them 
an  authority  almost  conclusive,  others  quote  them  with 
reserve,  and  own  that  their  testimony  is  disputed  and  not 
always  of  decisive  importance.1 

Every  one  is  familiar  with  the  verse  of  the  "Dies 
Ine,"  which,  if  an  interpolation,  at  any  rate  proves  the 
estimation  in  which  the  Sibyl  was  held : — 

Dies  irae,  dies  ilia, 
Solvet  ssecla  in  favilla, 
Teste  David  cum  Sibylla. 

The  manufacture  of  Sibylline  verses  continued  for  some 
centuries.  It  was  natural  and  easy  to  employ  this  means 
of  disseminating  correct  opinions  among  piously-disposed 
minds.  What  had  been  done  by  heathen  Greeks  might 
become  a  power  for  good  in  Jewish  and  Christian  hands. 
For  two  centuries  before  Christ  writers  used  this  form  to 
propagate  Jewish  opinions ;  in  the  early  days  of  the 
Christian  era,  Sibyllines  attempted  to  force  Christian 

1  Comp.  Euseb.  Constant.  Or.  ad.  Sanct.  Ccet.  i.  19  ;  August.  De 
Civit.  xviii.  17 ;  Gout.  Faust,  xiii.  2. 


views  into  prominence  in  pagan  circles.  Existing  poems 
were  largely  used,  adopted,  and  published.  Imitations 
were  freely  made,  and  these  additions  to  the  already 
copious  collection  enlarged  the  stock  to  an  unwieldy 
extent,  which  defied  every  effort  at  order  or  classifica- 
tion. Every  writer  allowed  himself  full  liberty  of  in- 
serting his  lucubration  wherever  he  chose ;  isolated 
fragments,  therefore,  abound,  many  duplicates  occur,  and 
the  result  is  confused  and  chaotic.  But  as  paganism 
disappeared,  and  Christianity  grew  stronger  and  less  in 
need  of  such  adventitious  support,  the  composition  of 
Sibylline  verses  gradually  ceased,  and  no  additions  to  the 
collection  seem  to  have  been  made  since  the  fourth 
century.  The  use  of  them  dying  out,  their  existence 
became  forgotten,  and  in  the  Middle  Ages  the  Greek  text 
seems  to  have  been  unknown.  Of  course  the  passages 
quoted  by  the  early  Fathers  and  the  Christian  apo- 
logists, and  the  testimony  borne  to  the  "Prophetess," 
as  Clemens  Alexandrinus  calls  her,  served  to  keep  alive 
the  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  such  writings ;  but  the 
collection  of  oracles  gathered  into  books,  such  as  we  now 
possess,  was  not  current ;  and  from  their  very  mystery 
and  obscurity  these  unknown  verses  were  regarded  with 
more  respect  and  deference  than  their  intrinsic  merits 

The  literary  history  of  the  Sibyllines  is  soon  told. 
The  earliest  known  quotation  is  that  mentioned  above 
concerning  the  building  of  the  Tower  of  Babel.  This  is 
cited  by  Alexander  Polyhistor,  who  lived  between  B.C.  80 
and  40,  and  is  found  in  Eusebius,  Chron.  i.  23,  and  in 
almost  identical  words,  though  with  only  a  vague  refer- 


ence  to  the  Sibyl,  in  Josephus,  Antiq.  i.  4.  3.  In  what 
form  the  book  existed  from  whence  this  citation  is  taken 
we  do  not  know.  Whether  Clemens  Komanus  quotes 
any  part  of  our  work  is  uncertain ;  Hermas  Pastor 
mentions  the  Sibyl,  but  not  her  verses.  Quotations 
abound  most  in  Clemens  Alexandrinus  and  Lactantius, 
who,  however,  seem  to  have  been  acquainted  chiefly  with 
the  Jewish  portions  of  the  work  as  well  as  with  some 
passages  now  no  longer  extant.  In  the  time  of  Lac- 
tantius there  was  circulated  a  rude  and  undigested  mass 
of  verses  in  the  Greek  language,  which  had  no  pretence 
to  order  or  completeness.  Some  unknown  author,  who 
has  left  a  preface  of  untrustworthy  character,  collected 
these  scattered  elements,  arranged  them  into  books,  with 
many  interpolations  of  his  own,  designed  to  express  his 
view  or  to  facilitate  the  transition  from  one  subject  to 
another.  The  collector,  probably  a  monk,  and  an  adept 
at  transcribing  manuscripts,  lived  in  the  sixth  century 
under  Justinian.  From  his  work  our  present  collection 
took  its  origin.  As  has  been  already  said,  we  are  not 
here  to  look  for  the  mysterious  Sibylline  books  which 
were  offered  to  Tarquin ;  nor  yet  for  those  which  replaced 
the  perished  Oracles  in  later  times.  Our  collection  is  of 
later  date  and  different  origin,  being  merely  imitations 
of  the  original  utterances,  and  only,  as  it  were,  by  chance 
embodying  any  of  the  ancient  heathen  verses.  A  portion 
of  what  we  now  possess  was  first  published  at  Basel  in 
1545  from  an  Augsburg,  now  a  Munich,  MS.  by  Xystus 
Betuleius  (=  Sixtus  Birke — i.e.  birch-tree) ;  this,  which 
comprised  eight  books,  was  followed  immediately  by 
a  metrical  Latin  version,  the  composition  of  Sebastian 


Castalio  (Chateillon),  who  also  republished  the  Greek 
text  with  emendations  some  ten  years  later.  The  fourth 
edition  appeared  at  Paris  in  1599  (repeated  in  1607), 
under  the  auspices  of  John  Opsopoeus  (i.e.  Koch  = 
o-\|ro7roto9,  cook),  purified  by  the  aid  of  some  newly- 
discovered  MSS.,  and  enriched  with  some  short  but 
useful  annotations.  Amsterdam  produced  the  next 
edition  in  1687,  undertaken  by  Servatius  Gallasus  (Ser- 
vais  Galle") ;  but  this  is  of  no  critical  value,  and  is  full 
of  typographical  errors  and  irrelevant  learning.  A 
portion  of  the  Sibyllines  is  printed  in  Gallandi's  Biblio- 
theca  Veterum  Patrum,  Venet.  1788.  All  these  editions 
above  -  mentioned  contain  only  the  first  eight  books. 
Some  additions  to  the  received  text  were  made  by  Angelo 
Mai,  who  in  1817  and  1828  found  and  published  some 
of  the  missing  books,  making  the  complete  work  to 
consist  of  fourteen  books,  the  ninth  and  tenth,  however, 
not  having  been  recovered.  The  first  perfect  edition, 
and  one  that  left  little  to  be  desired,  is  due  to  C. 
Alexandre,  who,  in  1841  and  some  subsequent  years, 
put  forth  a  carefully  revised  text,  with  Castalio's  Latin 
version  improved  and  augmented,  and  with  a  large  body 
of  critical  and  exegetical  notes,  and  a  volume  of  excursus, 
which  treat  copiously  of  all  matters  connected  with  the 
Oracles.1  This  edition  was  repeated  in  a  handier  form 
in  1869.  Another  edition  of  the  whole  work  is  that  by 
J.  H.  Friedlieb  (Leipzig  1852),  which  is  supplied  with 
a  translation  into  German  hexameters,  but  disfigured  by 
a  faulty  text.2  An  Englishman,  Sir  John  Floyer,  pub- 

1  Oracula  Sibyllina,  curante  C.  Alexandre,  Paris  1841-1856. 

2  Subsidiary  aids  to  the  elucidation  of  the  text  are  found  in  some 


lished  a  prose  translation  of  the  first  seven  and  part  of 
the  eighth  books  in  1713,  in  the  authenticity  of  which 
he  implicitly  believed,  taking  the  trouble  to  compare 
them  with  the  prophecies  of  Daniel  and  the  Bevelation, 
and  finding  in  them  a  marvellous  heathen  testimony  to 
the  truth  of  Divine  prophecy.  As  an  instance  of  human 
credulity  few  books  are  more  curious  than  that  of  this 
simple  and  uncritical  knight-errant. 

The  work  as  at  present  arranged  is  a  mass  of  confusion 
and  incongruity,  no  pretence  at  chronological  order  being 
aimed  at.  The  production  of  several  authors — Gentile, 
Jewish,  and  Christian — taking  very  different  standpoints, 
and  living  in  very  different  ages,  the  Oracles  must  be 
examined  separately,  if  we  wish  to  weigh  their  contents 
accurately  and  estimate  their  real  value  and  importance. 
Each  book  is  not  in  itself  a  whole,  the  production  of  one 
author,  or  of  one  age.  Often  it  contains  incongruous 
elements,  or  is  simply  a  congeries  of  unconnected  frag- 
ments. But  thus  much  is  evident,  that  two  chief 
elements  are  forthcoming,  viz.  a  Jewish  with  some  trace 
of  heathen  colouring,  and  a  Christian  which  is  more 
uniform.  But  it  is  very  difficult  to  decide  as  to  the 
character  of  many  portions  which  are  only  of  a  neutral 
tint.  The  critics  are  not  agreed  as  to  the  arrangement 
of  the  several  books,  but  from  the  considerations  adduced 
by  Alexandre  and  Ewald,  we  may  divide  the  whole 
collection  into  eight  pieces  of  different  date  and  author- 
treatises  of  Ewald,  e.g.  Abliandlung  iiber  Entsteliung  .  .  .  der  Sib* 
Biicher  (Gottingen  1858) ;  and  of  Bleek  in  Schleiermacher's  Zeit- 
schrift,  i.  2,  3  ;  and  in  the  Edinburgh  Review,  July  1877.  There  are 
numerous  German  treatises,  many  of  which  I  have  not  seen. 


ship.  The  first  and  oldest  is  undoubtedly  the  prologue 
of  Book  i.  and  parts  of  Book  iii.  (97-828).  This  portion 
was  the  work  of  an  Alexandrian  Jew,  who  wrote  under 
Ptolemy  VII.  Physcon,  about  B.C.  140.  It  is  by  far  the 
most  important  of  all  the  poems,  and  worthy  of  the 
fullest  investigation,  as  it  is  the  longest  pre-Christian 
production  in  the  whole  series.  There  is  one  other,  and 
only  one  other,  certainly  pre-Christian  section  in  the 
whole  collection.  This  fragment  is  found  in  vers.  36-92 
of  the  same  third  book,  and  from  internal  evidence  is 
assigned  to  B.C.  40,  the  time  of  the  first  Triumvirate. 
The  second  piece,  Book  iv.,  is  regarded  as  the  most 
ancient  of  the  Christian  Sibyllines,  though  there  is 
nothing  in  it  distinctively  Christian,  and  it  may  well 
have  been  the  work  of  a  Jew.  Its  date  is  considered  to 
be  about  A.D.  80.  The  third  is  a  conglomeration  of 
Jewish  and  Christian  compositions,  the  Jewish  prepon- 
derating. Much  of  it  belongs  to  the  first  Christian 
century.  It  consists  of  the  whole,  or  nearly  the  whole, 
of  Book  v.  The  fourth  piece  is  composed  of  Books  vi. 
and  vii.,  and,  as  Ewald  thinks,  the  first  part  of  Book 
v. ;  but  this  latter  assertion  is  doubtful.  This  is  of  a 
Christian  character,  though  decidedly  heretical,  and  is 
referred  to  the  early  part  of  the  third  century  A.D.  The 
fifth  is  found  in  Book  viii.,  vers.  1-360,  Christian  and 
orthodox,  a  little  later  than  the  last.  The  sixth  consists 
of  the  rest  of  the  eighth  Book.  The  seventh  is  composed 
of  Books  i.,  il,  and  the  first  thirty-five  verses  of  Book 
iii.,  and  was  written  about  the  middle  of  the  third  Chris- 
tian century.  The  last  piece  contains  Books  xi.,  xii., 
xiii.,  xiv.,  and  is  the  production  of  a  Jew  in  Egypt,  who 


had  some  acquaintance  with  Christian  rites  and 
doctrine.  Thus  these  "  Oracles "  cover  a  space  of 
more  than  four  hundred  years,  and  give  an  insight  into 
the  tenets  and  feelings  of  Jews  and  Christians  at  an 
epoch  the  most  important  in  the  religious  history  of 

Being  of  this  miscellaneous  character,  the  Sibyllines 
must  be  regarded  as  speaking  each  one  for  itself  alone. 
In  tracing  any  particular  view  or  tenet  or  idea,  we 
cannot,  as  in  the  ordinary  case  of  a  book  composed  at  a 
definite  time  and  place  by  a  single  author,  say  generally 
the  Sibylline  Oracles  express  this  or  that  opinion ;  but 
we  must  carefully  regard  the  passage  where  the  opinion 
occurs,  and  decide  when  it  was  written,  and  whether  by 
Jew,  Christian,  or  semi-pagan ;  for  on  our  determination 
of  these  questions  depends  the  value  of  the  given  state- 
ment. Unfortunately,  the  interpolations  of  later  hands 
are  so  numerous,  that  it  is  impossible  in  all  cases  to 
assign  date  or  locality  with  absolute  certainty.  We  are 
not  about  to  attempt  any  critical  examination  of  the 
text  in  this  paper ;  the  design  is  more  humble,  viz.  to 
give  readers  some  idea  of  the  contents  of  these  books, 
keeping  distinct  the  groups  into  which  they  seem  natur- 
ally to  divide  themselves,  and  to  show  their  bearing  on 
the  religious  ideas  of  the  two  centuries  preceding  and 
subsequent  to  the  time  of  our  Lord. 

For  the  benefit  of  those  who  have  not  seen  the 
original,  it  may  be  premised  that  the  poems  take  the 
same  form  as,  and  endeavour  to  assume  the  outward 
character  of,  the  ancient  heathen  oracles.  They  are 
written  in  Homeric  hexameter  verse,  but  with  great 


licence  as  to  the  quantities  of  words,  accent  often  being 
taken  to  lengthen  a  short  syllable,  e.g.  iii.  1 :  Ovpdvi 
VTfril3pefj,eTa  /j,d/cap,  09  e^et?  TO  Xepov/31/jt,,  and  quantities 
are  in  the  most  regal  manner  made  to  give  way  to  the 
necessities  of  the  verse,  even  without  the  excuse  of 
accent,  e.g.  v.  272  :  avrovs  Be  Kpv^rovaiv  e&>?  /cooy-to? 
a\\ayg,  the  last  two  feet  doing  duty  for  spondees.  It 
is  supposed  that  the  most  ancient  Sibylline  verses  were 
acrostics.1  Of  this  kind  of  verse  one  celebrated  specimen 
occurs  in  Book  viii.,  vers.  217-250,  part  of  which  in  a 
Latin  form  has  been  preserved  by  St.  Augustine  (De 
Civit.  xviii.  23).  The  passage  in  the  Greek  consists  of 
thirty-four  lines,  the  initials  of  which  make  the  words 
STATPOS.  The  Latin  version  omits  the  last  word, 
employs  C  and  S  to  represent  5,  and  finding  a  difficulty 
in  the  use  of  the  Greek  letter  v,  has  substituted  others 
in  its  place,  which  may  possibly  represent  the  current 
pronunciation  ;  so  that,  as  it  stands,  the  initials  com- 
pose the  words:  JESVCS  •  CKEISTOS  •  TEV  •  DNIOS  • 

The  earliest  portion  of  the  work  is  found,  as  has  been 
said,  in  Book  iii.,  combined  with  some  older  Gentile 
verses  and  some  later  Christian  interpolations.  All 
critics  agree  in  this  view,  and  many  consider  the  pro- 
logue placed  now  before  Book  i.  to  be  of  equal  antiquity. 
There  are  fragments  not  found  in  the  extant  MSS.  of 
the  Sibylline  Oracles,  but  preserved  by  Theophilus  and 

1  Dionys.  Hal.  iv.  62  ;  Cicero,  De  Divin.  ii.  54. 

2  Alexandre  gives  a  revised  Latin  version,  which  forms  the  acrostic 
"  Jesus  Christus  Dei  Filius  Salus  in  Cruce." 


Lactantius,1  and  ascribed  by  the  latter  to  the  Erythraean 
Sibyl.  After  enumerating  ten  Sibyls,  he  proceeds  (Instit. 
i.  6) :  "  The  verses  of  these  Sibyls  are  all  in  circulation 
except  those  of  the  Cumoaan,  which  are  reserved  in  secret 
by  the  Romans,  and  are  inspected  by  none  but  the  Quin- 
decimviri.  They  are  the  work  of  different  authors, 
though  often  ascribed  to  one,  who  passed  by  the  generic 
name  of  Sibyl.  It  is  impossible  to  discriminate  the 
writers,  except  in  the  case  of  the  Erythraean,  who  inserts 
her  own  name  in  her  poem,  and  is  called  Erythraean, 
though  sprung  from  Babylon."  Some  of  the  lines  have 
been  inserted  by  the  original  collector  in  the  first  part  of 
the  third  book,  and  it  is  probably  owing  to  this  that  the 
MSS.  have  ceased  to  contain  the  prologue,  as  it  was 
thought  unnecessary  to  transcribe  what  would  be  found 
in  another  place.  The  prologue,  which  probably  formed 
the  original  introduction  to  Book  iii.,  begins  with  an 
exhortation  to  the  Gentiles  to  leave  their  false  deities, 
and  to  worship  the  one  true  God,  "  who  reigns  alone, 
almighty,  unbegotten,  seeing  all  yet  seen  of  none."  "  Ye 
shall  have  the  reward  of  your  evil  counsel,"  says  the 
Sibyl,  "  because,  neglecting  to  honour  the  true,  ever- 
lasting God,  and  to  offer  to  Him  sacred  hecatombs,  ye 
have  made  your  sacrifices  to  the  deities  of  Hades."  The 
Fathers 2  have  seen  in  these  words  a  wonderful  advance 
of  heathenism  towards  right  religion.  But,  of  course, 
they  are  not  the  genuine  utterances  of  a  heathen ;  they 
are  written  by  a  Jew  personifying  the  pagan  Sibyl.  The 
following  argument,  however,  seems  to  be  genuine.  It 

1  Theoph.  Ad  Autol.  ii.  36  ;  Lact.  Div.  Inst.  iv.  6. 

2  Clem.  Alex.  Protreph.  pp.  23,  etc. 



is  preserved  by  Theophilus  in  his  second  book  against 
Autolycus  (p.  348),  and  takes  the  form  of  a  kind  of 
syllogism :  "  If  gods  beget,  and  are  indeed  immortal, 
they  would  be  far  more  numerous  than  men,  nor  would 
any  place  be  found  for  mortals  whereon  to  stand.  And 
if  all  that  is  begotten  perishes,1  no  god  could  ever  have 
sprung  from  a  human  womb.  But  God  is  one,  alone, 
supreme,  who  made  heaven  and  sun,"  etc.,  "  incorruptible, 
creator,  eternal,  dwelling  in  the  air;  who  to  the  good 
proffers  good  as  an  exceeding  great  reward,  and  against 
the  evil  raises  up  wrath  and  anger,  war  and  pestilence, 
yea,  lamentable  woes."  The  closing  lines  of  the  prologue 
point  to  a  late  Jewish  origin,  the  mention  of  Paradise  in 
the  sense  of  the  abode  of  spirits  never  occurring  in  the 
Old  Testament  save  in  Ecclus.  xliv.  16,  and  then  only  in 
the  old  Latin  version,  speaking  of  the  translation  of 
Enoch.  The  prologue  ends  thus  :  "  But  they  who 
honour  the  true,  eternal  God  shall  inherit  life,  dwelling 
for  ever  in  the  fair  garden  of  Paradise,  feasting  on 
sweet  bread  from  the  starry  heaven."  The  inherit- 
ance of  life,  the  abode  in  Paradise,  and  the  feeding  on 
manna  savour  of  New  Testament  terminology,  and,  if  not 
of  Christian  derivation,  are  remarkable  as  anticipative  of 
Christian  doctrine.2  That  the  author  was  an  Alexandrian 
Jew,  and  assumed  the  position  of  the  writer  of  the  Book 
of  Wisdom,  seems  tolerably  certain,  if  we  regard  his 
allusions  to  beast-worship.  "  O  ye  men,"  he  cries,  "  are 
ye  not  ashamed  to  make  gods  of  pole-cats  (7aXa?)  and 
brutes  ?  Has  not  madness  and  frenzy  robbed  you  of 

1  Comp.  Aristot.  De  Ccelo,  i.  9. 

2  Comp.  Matt.  xix.  29  ;  Luke  xxiii.  43  ;  Rev.  ii.  17. 


your  senses  if  ye  think  that  gods  plunder  dishes  and 
pots,  and,  instead  of  dwelling  in  the  rich,  golden  heaven, 
look  upon  moth-eaten  robes,  and  are  begirt  with  spiders' 
webs  ?  Fools,  to  adore  snakes,  dogs,  weasels,  aud  birds 
of  air,  and  creeping  things  of  earth,  and  images  of  stone, 
and  statues  made  by  hand,  and  cairns  by  the  roadside : 
these  things  ye  worship  and  many  other  vanities  which 
it  were  a  shame  even  to  mention."  Plainly  the  writer 
of  these  lines  must  have  had  before  his  eyes  the  abomina- 
tions of  Egyptian  idolatry,  and  was  expressing  his  hatred 
of  a  religion,  the  material  forms  of  which  were  daily 
forced  upon  his  notice.  But  he  differs  from  many  of  his 
countrymen  in  his  eschatological  views.  There  is  no 
trace  of  millennarianism,  or  of  a  reign  of  Messiah  before 
the  final  judgment,  or  of  a  first  resurrection  which  shall 
affect  the  righteous  only — doctrines  which  are  found 
continually  in  later  books.  Here  there  is  only  one  judg- 
ment for  all,  which  shall  decide  the  fate  of  good  and 
bad,  who  shall  at  once  receive  tneir  appointed  lot,  the 
former  entering  upon  an  eternal  life  of  happiness  in  an 
earthly  Paradise,  the  latter  going  away  into  eternal  fire. 

We  come  now  to  the  consideration  of  the  most 
important  and  characteristic  of  the  Oracles,  viz.  the 
most  ancient  portions  of  Book  iii.,  vers.  97—294  and 
489-828.  The  intervening  lines,  vers.  295-488,  form- 
ing the  second  section  of  the  book,  are  an  interpolation 
of  a  heterogeneous  character,  and  will  be  noticed  further 
on.  The  writer  of  the  genuine  poem  is  evidently  an 
Alexandrian  Jew,  living  in  the  second  century  before 
Christ.  The  determination  of  the  date  of  the  composi- 
tion depends  on  internal  considerations.  The  author  is 


acquainted  with  the  Book  of  Daniel,  and  with  the 
expedition,  of  Antiochus  Epiphanes  to  Egypt.  This 
affords  some  clue  ;  but  there  is  a  closer  limitation.  After 
the  division  of  the  Macedonian  kingdom,  it  is  said  that 
another  empire  shall  be  established  by  "  a  toga-clad  and 
republican  nation,"  l  which  shall  deal  hardly  with  Mace- 
donia until  "  the  seventh  king  of  Grecian  origin  shall 
reign  in  Egypt."  The  allusion  here  must  be  to  Ptolemy 
Physcon,  who,  after  his  brother  Philometor's  death, 
reigned  as  sole  king  (B.C.  145  —  117),  having  been 
associated  with  him  for  a  time  (B.C.  170—164)  before 
he  was  banished  from  Egypt.  He  was  the  seventh 
sovereign  of  Hellenic  race.  Another  criterion  is  the 
allusion  to  the  destruction  of  Carthage  and  Corinth, 
which,  as  is  well  known,  were  overthrown  B.C.  146.2 

The  beginning  of  the  poem  evidently  is  absent.  It 
now  commences  abruptly  with  an  account  of  the  building 
of  the  Tower  of  Babel,  its  overthrow  by  violent  winds, 
and  the  dispersion  of  mankind  consequent  upon  the 
confusion  of  tongues.  Then  follows  a  section,  derived 
from  Hesiod  and  other  heathen  sources,  detailing  the 
legends  of  the  sons  of  Saturn  and  the  Titans  from  the 
tenth  generation  after  the  Flood,  wherein  the  gods  of 
antiquity  appear  as  human  kings,  and  which  are 
recounted  in  order  to  show  how  war  was  introduced 
into  the  world,  and  how  other  kingdoms  arose.  The 
history  of  the  ancient  empires  —  Persians,  Medes, 
Assyrians,  etc.  —  is  dismissed  in  a  few  verses,  the  author 
arriving  at  a  stride  at  Eome  ;  and  then  merging  into 

x,ot,l  TroAt/xjOoti/of,  iii.  176. 
2  Schiirer,  Hist,  of  Jewish  People,  iii.  280  ff. 


prophecy,  the  Sibyl  foretells  the  prosperity  of  the  king- 
dom of  Solomon,  whose  dominion  extends  over  Phoenicia, 
Asia  Minor,  the  neighbouring  islands,  and  Persia — an 
exaggeration  which  could  scarcely  have  been  made  by 
any  one  but  a  Jew  of  a  late  period.  After  a  short 
episode  concerning  the  Greeks  and  Macedonians,  the 
Sibyl  proceeds  to  inveigh  against  Rome,  "a  nation  clad 
in  white,  many-headed,  which,  coming  from  the  Western 
Sea,  shall  grow  into  a  mighty  empire  and  shake  the 
throne  of  kings."  Of  its  rapine  and  luxury,  its  gross 
licentiousness  and  profanity,  its  cruelty  and  oppression, 
she  speaks  in  severest  terms,  and  predicts  a  retributive 
punishment  soon  to  fall.  This  is  to  happen  in  times 
when  "  the  nation  of  the  mighty  God  shall  once  again 
be  strong,  and  become  to  all  peoples  the  guide  of  life." 
An  eloquent  passage  follows,  containing  the  history  of 
the  Jews  unto  the  return  from  exile.  The  opening  lines 
are  fine : — 

There  is  a  city  in  the  land  of  the  fchaldseans  from  which  arose 
the  most  righteous  race  of  men,  whose  care  was  good  counsel  and 
fair  deeds.  For  they  regard  not  with  anxious  thought  the  course  of 
sun  and  moon,  nor  the  wonders  that  are  found  on  earth,  nor  the 
depth  of  ocean's  blue- eyed  sea,  nor  the  omens  of  a  sneeze  and  the 
birds  of  the  augur,  nor  seers,  nor  sorcerers,  nor  charmers,  nor 
ventriloquists'  fond  deceits ;  they  study  not  the  predictions  of 
Chaldsean  astrologers  ;  they  observe  not  the  stars  ;  for  merest  fraud 
are  all  such  things,  which  men  in  their  folly  day  by  day  explore, 
exercising  their  soul  in  no  useful  work,  teaching  error  unto  hapless 
mortals  ;  whence  many  evils  have  befallen  the  inhabitants  of  earth, 
so  that  they  have  strayed  from  the  paths  of  righteousness.  But,  on 
the  other  hand,  this  people  make  righteousness  and  virtue  their  sole 
care  ;  they  shun  avarice,  which  to  the  race  of  man  brings  number- 
less evils,  wars,  and  famine  past  escape.  Just  bounds  are  theirs  in 
town  and  field  ;  no  thief  steals  by  night  into  their  houses ;  they 
harry  not  their  neighbours'  flocks  of  oxen,  sheep,  and  goats,  nor 


violate  their  neighbours'  boundaries  ;  the  rich  man  vexes  not  his 
poorer  brother,  nor  harasses  the  widow,  but  rather  aids  her  from  his 
stores  of  corn  and  wine  and  oil ;  ever  is  he  a  blessing  to  them  who 
have  nothing ;  ever  of  his  harvest  he  gives  a  share  to  the  needy. 
Thus  they  fulfil  the  command  of  the  great  God,  which  is  their 
ordered  song ;  for  the  heavenly  Father  has  given  the  earth  as  the 
common  possession  of  all  men. — Vers.  218-248. 

This  eloquent  passage,  which  indeed  is  an  amplifica- 
tion of  the  warnings  in  Deut.  xviii.,  is  succeeded  by  an 
abstract  of  the  history  of  Israel  in  the  form  of  prophecy. 
The  exodus  is  noticed,  and  the  promulgation  of  the  law 
at  Sinai,  and  the  happy  life  in  the  Holy  Land,  "  when  to 
them  alone  among  mankind  the  fruitful  earth  returned 
a  hundredfold — such  were  the  measures  of  God."  But 
the  exile  in  Assyria  follows  and  the  ruin  of  the  once 
favoured  land,  a  punishment  of  the  people's  idolatry. 
Therefore  for  seventy  years  the  country  lies  desolate, 
till  a  king  sent  from  heaven, — Cyrus, — warned  by  a  holy 
dream,  restores  Judah,  the  royal  tribe,  and  all  the  kings 
of  Persia  give  means  to  rebuild  the  temple. 

The  las.t  section  of  the  poem  (vers.  489—807)  is 
occupied  with  various  predictions  concerning  the  nations 
of  the  earth.  In  the  epilogue  (vers.  808-828)  the 
Sibyl  speaks  of  herself  (though  some  critics  regard  this 
notice  as  a  later  interpolation),  affirming  that,  while  fame 
tells  that  she  came  from  Erythrae,  or  was  the  daughter  of 
Circe,  she  was-  in  fact  the  daughter-in-law  of  Noah,  and 
shut  up  with  him  in  the  ark.  She  asserts  emphatically 
that  she  came  from  Babylon  inspired  (olo-Tpo^avrj^}  to 
foretell  the  future  to  mortals.  "  The  Greeks,"  she  says, 
"assert  that  I  am  from  Erythrae,  or  the  daughter  of 
Circe  and  Gnostos,  and  that  I  am  insane  and  a  false 


prophetess ;  but  when  my  predictions  shall  be  fulfilled, 
then  shall  ye  remember  me,  and  own  that  I  am  not  mad, 
but  a  true  prophetess  of  God  "  (808  ff.).  Of  the  prophecy 
itself  the  following  may  be  taken  as  a  summary,  though 
very  often  it  is  difficult  to  see  to  what  events  in  history 
the  seer  refers,  and  sometimes  there  is  known  no  fact 
corresponding  to  the  fate  announced : — Phoenicia  shall 
be  utterly  destroyed,  so  that  not  a  tribe  shall  be  left, 
because  of  her  lying  lips  and  lawless  life,  and  her  proud 
exultation  against  the  mighty  God.  A  horrible  end 
awaits  Crete,  whose  smoking  ruins  all  the  world  shall 
see.  Thrace  shall  pass  under  the  servile  yoke,  when  a 
mixed  horde  of  Galatkns  and  Phrygians  (Dardanidse) 
shall  overrun  the  fields  of  Greece.  Evil  shall  befall 
Gog  and  Magog,  the  Marsi  and  Daci."  Under  these 
appellations  the  extreme  northern  nations  are  meant ;  the 
Marsi  were  always  formidable  in  Eoman  eyes,  and  the 
Dacians  are  often  enumerated  among  Scythian  tribes.1 
This  loose  geography  may  be  expected  in  a  Jew  living 
at  Alexandria.  Woe  is  next  denounced  on  the  peoples 
of  Asia  Minor — on  Moors,  Ethiopians,  and  Arabians ; 
and  then  the  ruin  of  Greece  is  predicted,  when  a  bar- 
barous nation  shall  invade  it,  and  rapine  and  cruelty  and 
slaughter  shall  reign  throughout  the  land.  This  refers 
to  the  proceedings  of  the  Eomans  in  the  Macedonian 
and  Achaic  wars.  Man's  share  in  this  destruction  shall 
be  aided  by  Nature :  plague,  fire,  famine  shall  do  their 
part,  so  that  scarce  a  third  of  the  inhabitants  shall 
remain.  These  evils  are  a  punishment  for  the  idolatry 
which  profane  kings  introduced  into  Greece  "  fifteen 
1  Ezek.  xxxix.  1,  2 ;  Horat.  Carm.  ii.  20.  18,  iii.  14.  18,  etc. 


hundred  years  ago."  What  this  limitation  of  time  may 
mean  cannot  accurately  be  determined.  Dating  it  from 
the  Sibyl's  age,  it  would  land  us  in  an  epoch  long 
anterior  to  the  Trojan  war,  about  which  we  can  form 
only  conjectures.  But  the  seer  looks  forward  to  better 
days.  Greece  will  some  day  cast  away  its  idols  and 
turn  to  the  true  God,  and  with  hands  uplifted  implore 
His  help,  offering  to  Him  the  sacrifices  which  once 
were  paid  to  false  gods.  And  then,  led  away,  as  it 
seems,  by  the  temporary  prosperity  of  the  Jews  under 
the  Maccabaean  rule,  the  author  utters  his  Messianic 
hopes  in  glowing  language,  contrasting  the  peace  and 
happiness  of  the  favoured  people  with  the  wars  and 
misery  which  were  the  heathen's  portion.1  "  The  holy 
race  shall  cleave  unto  the  Most  High  God,  and  honour 
His  temple  with  libations  and  incense  and  sacred 
hecatombs,  and  offer  on  the  great  altar  fat  thighs  of 
rams.  Eighteously  observing  the  holy  law,  they  shall 
live  happy  in  city  and  field,  and,  themselves  becoming 
prophets,  shall  bring  joy  to  all  men ;  for  to  them  alone 
of  mortals  hath  God  given  wisdom  and  faith.  They 
make  no  gods  of  gold  or  silver,  nor  pictured  forms  of 
beasts  to  worship ;  but  ever  they  raise  pure  arms  to 
heaven,  in  early  morning  rising  from  their  bed  to  cleanse 
their  hands  with  water ; 2  they  honour  the  eternal  God 
and  their  parents ;  they  love  chastity  and  the  bed  un- 
defiled,  nor  ever  practise  the  shameful  vices  of  the 
heathen,  which  have  brought  on  these  infinite  misery." 

1  This,  according  to  Sir  J.  Floyer,  is  a  description  of  the  Eeforma- 
tion  in  Europe,  A.D.  1517. 

2  John  ii.  6. 


But  a  day  shall  come  when  idolatry  shall  be  abolished, 
and  the  pagans  shall  hide  their  images  in  the  holes  of 
the  rocks l  for  very  shame.  This  blessed  change  shall 
take  place  "  what  time  a  new  king  shall  rule  over  Egypt, 
the  seventh  in  succession  of  the  Grecian  supremacy,"  i.e. 
as  we  have  seen,  in  the  reign  of  Ptolemy  Physcon.  At 
that  time  "a  mighty  king  from  Asia,  like  a  rapacious 
eagle  " — Antiochus  Epiphanes — shall  ravage  Egypt,  and 
carry  off  large  booty  across  the  sea.  Taught  by  these 
sufferings,  the  nation  shall  bow  its  knee  to  the  great 
God  of  heaven,  and  burn  its  idols  ;  and  the  Lord  shall 
make  all  the  land  rejoice ;  and  earth  shall  give  her 
increase,  and  there  shall  be  abundance  of  flocks  and 
herds  and  of  everything  that  sustains  the  life  of  men. 
This  passage  places  us  at  the  standpoint  of  the  writer, 
who,  knowing  nothing  of  subsequent  events,  takes 
occasion  from  the  happy  circumstances  of  the  Jews  at 
this  epoch  to  picture  the  peaceful  life  of  the  righteous 
nation  in  anticipation  of  the  glories  of  Messiah's  kingdom. 
At  the  same  time,  he  warns  the  Gentiles  that  first  shall 
arise  terrible  tribulation  from  the  cruel  inroads  of  a 
barbarous  people,  meaning  probably  the  Eomans.  At 
the  close  of  this  distress  Messiah  shall  come.  "  Then 
from  the  rising  sun 2  God  shall  send  a  king,  who  shall 
make  all  the  earth  to  cease  from  cruel  war,  killing 
indeed  some,  making  faithful  treaties  with  others.  Not 
by  his  own  counsels  shall  he  do  all  this,  but  in  obedience 

1  Isa.  ii.  19  f. 

2 'A?r'   ojsA/o/o  (v.  652),  "from  the  east,"  Isa.  xli.  2  ;  or  it  may 
mean  simply  "from  heaven,"  as   Cyrus  is  said  (v.  286)  to  come 


to  the  good  decrees  of  Almighty  God.1  And  the  Lord's 
people  shall  be  rich  with  every  blessing,  with  gold  and 
silver  and  purple  raiment ;  land  and  sea  shall  fill  them 
with  good  things."  Nations  shall  war  against  the  holy 
people,  eager  to  destroy  the  temple  of  God,  and  bring  in 
their  own  idolatrous  worship ;  but  the  hand  of  the  Lord 
shall  be  heavy  upon  them,  and  shall  rain  destruction 
upon  them  from  heaven.  "  In  those  days  the  whole 
earth  shall  be  shaken,  and  all  the  inhabitants  thereof, 
and  great  fear  shall  be  on  every  side.  He  shall  rend 
asunder  the  mountains,  and  lay  open  the  abyss,  and  fill 
the  places  with  dead  bodies,  and  lay  low  the  walls  of 
evil  men,  because  they  knew  not  the  law  of  God,  and 
raised  their  weapons  against  the  holy  place."  And  this 
destruction  shall  fall  upon  them  until  they  recognise 
God,  the  righteous  Judge.  Here,  as  the  seer  unfolds  the 
mighty  future,  he  claims  for  his  utterances  the  gift  of 
inspiration.  "  The  great  eternal  God  Himself  bade  me 
prophesy  these  things,  all  of  which  shall  be  fulfilled  in 
their  season  ;  for  the  Spirit  of  God  throughout  the  world 
is  true."2  Then  follows  another  glowing  description  of 
the  felicity  of  the  chosen  people,  who  shall  dwell  in 
peace  and  plenty  under  the  immediate  protection  of 
God.  "  Oh,  how  greatly  doth  the  Immortal  love 
these  men !  shall  all  the  islands  •  and  cities  say ;  for 
all  things  sympathise  with  them  and  bring  them 

1  John  v.  19  :  "  The  Son  can  do  nothing  of  Himself,  but  what  He 
seeth  the  Father  do."     Comp.  ibid.  v.  30. 

2  Though  the  Jews  did  not  accurately  distinguish  the  Persons  of 
the  Holy  Trinity,  they  often  speak  of  the  Holy  Spirit  as  distinct 
from  the  Father, — e.g.  in  the  Book  of  Wisdom, — and  look  to  Him  as 
the  Author  of  inspiration. 


help,1  both  heaven,  and  moon,  and  God-moved  sun."  At 
sight  of  this  prosperity  the  Gentiles  shall  turn  to  God, 
and  call  on  one  another  to  come  and  offer  sacrifice  to  the 
Almighty,  and  to  be  obedient  to  His  law.  Now  the 
prophet  calls  upon  Greece  (i.e.  the  land  of  Egypt)  to  aid 
the  Jews  dwelling  there  to  return  to  their  own  country, 
and  to  take  part  in  the  struggle  then  being  carried  on 
under  the  brave  Maccabees.2  If  the  Egyptians  shall 
neglect  to  do  this,  and  shall  still  cleave  to  their  idolatry  and 
heathen  vice,  they  shall  lose  all  share  in  the  felicity  of 
the  Messianic  kingdom,  "  when  the  fated  end  shall  arrive, 
and  the  judgment  of  the  eternal  God  shall  fall  upon 
mortal  men."  A  still  more  glowing  description  of  this 
happy  time  follows,  very  similar  to  the  classic  accounts 
of  the  golden  age ;  and  the  Lord,  it  is  said,  in  the  starry 
heaven  shall  give  one  common  law  to  all  the  earth,  "  for 
He  is  God  alone,  and  there  is  none  but  He." 3  And 
when  His  kingdom  is  established  over  all  men,  then 
shall  they  bring  incense  and  offerings  to  the  one  house 
of  God  which  shall  stand  for  ever.4  Here  the  writer 

1  Wisd.  xvi.  17;  Koin.  viii.  28. 

2  The  historical  allusions  may  be  read  in  Alexandre's  note  on 
v.  734. 

3  This  is  a  phrase  which  often  occurs  :  Deut.  iv.  35  ;  Isa.  xlv.  5, 

4  In  v.  774,  according  to  the  reading  of  the  MSS.,  occur  the 
words :  "  And  mortals  shall  call  him  the  Son  of  the  Mighty  God," 
viov  yap  x.x'htQvsi  Pporoi  (Atydi'hoio  tifoio.     The  last  object  spoken  of  is 
oixog,  the  house  of  God,  which  Lactantius  and  Augustine  took  as 
denoting  the  Logos  (see  Lact.  Div.  Inst.  iv.  6  ;  August.  Contr.  Hcer. 
v.  3).     But  Alexandre  with  great  probability  thinks  that  vw*  ought 
to  be  read  instead  of  VIM,  as  the  rest  of  the  paragraph  is  concerned 
only  with  the  temple,  and  any  mention  of  the  Son  of  God  is  alien 
from  the  passage. 


evidently  looks  forward  to  the  permanence  and  unique 
position  of  the  temple  at  Jerusalem,  once  polluted  by 
Antiochus,  but  now  purified  and  restored  by  the  piety  of 
the  Maccabees.  By  land  and  sea,  he  says,  the  peoples 
shall  flock  to  the  Holy  City  to  pay  their  vows ;  and  this 
they  can  do  because  it  shall  be  a  time  of  universal  peace, 
when  "  the  prophets  of  God  shall  take  away  the  sword 
from  among  mankind,  and  they  themselves  shall  be  the 
kings  and  righteous  judges  of  mortal  men ;  and  He  shall 
dwell  with  them  and  be  their  everlasting  light."  What 
signs  shall  precede  this  happy  reign  of  Messiah  ?  They 
are  these :  flaming  swords  in  the  sky  seen  by  night  in 
the  east  and  west ;  storms  of  dust ;  the  light  of  the  sun 
failing  in  mid-day,  and  the  moon's  rays  falling  on  earth 
at  unusual  times ;  blood  flowing  from  rocks ;  warriors 
and  huntsmen  appearing  in  the  clouds  of  heaven.1 

The  book  closes,  as  we  have  seen  above,  with  an 
epilogue  containing  an  account  of  the  Sibyl's  origin,  and 
asserting  her  claim  to  inspiration.  In  this  composition 
we  see  the  object  of  the  writer  very  plainly.  He 
employs  the  popularity  enjoyed  by  the  "  Oracles "  to 
enforce  his  own  views,  presenting  the  history  of  his 
own  people  up  to  Noah's  time  as  a  past  record,  and 
narrating  subsequent  events  in  the  form  of  prophecy,  the 
role  of  antiquity  being  thus  well  maintained,  and  his  own 
age  virtually  asserted.  He  sets  before  the  Gentiles  a 
high  ideal,  showing  them  to  what  they  ought  to  aspire, 
and  warning  them  that  they  can  hope  to  attain  this 
position  only  by  favouring  and  supporting  the  chosen 
people,  and  following  their  bright  example.  And  he 
1  Comp.  2  Mace.  v.  2,  3. 


recalls  the  Hebrews,  especially  those  dwelling  in  foreign 
countries,  to  the  observation  of  the  law,  and  to  the 
remembrance  of  Messianic  hopes  which  are  now  approach- 
ing fulfilment.  It  is  just  possible  that  Virgil,  in  his 
description  of  the  golden  age,  may  have  reproduced  some 
of  the  ideas  which  had  emanated  from  the  Sibyl,  whose 
verses  may  have  been  carried  to  Rome  by  the  com- 
missioners who  were  sent  to  seek  for  Sibylline  books  in 
Egypt,  and  that  he  alludes  to  our  poet  when  he  says 
(Ed.  iv.  4)  :  "  Ultima  Cumsei  venit  jam  carminis  setas." 
The  second  section  of  this  book  is  almost  wholly  occupied 
with  denunciations  of  judgments  and  calamities  upon 
nations  more  or  less  hostile  to  Israel.  Babylon  shall 
suffer  heavily  for  her  offences  against  the  holy  people  ; 
Egypt  shall  be  pierced  with  the  sword  "in  the  seventh 
generation  of  kings,"  and  then  shall  rest  in  peace;  Gog 
and  Magog,  whose  unknown  country  lies  between  the 
Ethiopian  rivers,  shall  be  stained  with  blood  ;  for  Libya 
and  western  lands  a  bitter  time  is  approaching.  Nor 
shall  signs  of  the  coming  calamities  be  wanting  ;  comets, 
plagues,  famines,  wars,  earthquakes,  shall  herald  the  fate 
of  these  nations.  Proclamations  of  woes  on  particular 
towns  and  countries  follow.  Rome  shall  have  to  restore 
to  Asia  the  wealth  which  she  plundered.  Then  we  have 
the  paronomasias: 

tared  jcal  2a^o?  cc^aoj,  lailroti  AijAoj 
xul  ' 

After  these  tribulations  peace  shall  ensue  in  Asia  and 
Europe,  and  a  time  of  Messianic  prosperity.  Then  the 
Sibyl  turns  again  to  gloomy  vaticinations,  and  utters 
oracles  concerning  Antiochus  Epiphanes,  "  a  man  clad  in 


purple,  barbarous,  iniquitous,  fiery,"  and  his  successors ; 
she  speaks  of  Phrygia,  Troy,  Lydia,  Cyprus,  Italy,  and 
other  countries,  taking  occasion  to  inveigh  against  Homer 
as  a  writer  of  lies  (tyevSoypdcfros),  one  who  plagiarised 
from  Sibyl's  oracles,  and  falsified  what  he  borrowed. 
The  section  ends  with  announcing  the  destruction  of 
Carthage  and  Corinth. 

The  book  next  in  age  to  the  preceding  one  is  the 
fourth,  the  production  of  a  Jew  or  a  semi-Judaising 
Christian,  composed  after  the  fall  of  Jerusalem  under 
Titus  or  Domitian.  The  date  is  fixed  by  two  allusions 
in  the  poem :  first,  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  (vers. 
115-127);  and  next,  the  mention  of  the  eruption  of 
Vesuvius  (A.D.  79)  as  a  recent  calamity,  and  the  pre- 
cursor of  Divine  vengeance  on  the  destroyer  of  the 
Jewish  nation.  "  When  from  the  cloven  rocks  of  Italy 
a  fire  returning  shall  blaze  unto  the  broad  heaven,  and 
shall  burn  up  many  cities,  and  destroy  the  lives  of  men, 
filling  the  vast  air  with  flaming  ashes,  and  drops  of 
bloody  hue  shall  fall  from  heaven,  then  shall  men  know 
the  wrath  of  God  for  that  they  slew  the  guiltless  race  of 
the  pious"  (vers.  130-136).  Prophecies  of  this  calamity 
were  prevalent  among  the  heathen.  Plutarch1  twice 
alleges  a  supposed  Sibylline  oracle  on  the  subject,  which 
speaks  of  the  overthrow  of  Cumae  and  Dicasarchia,  i.e. 
Puteoli,  by  fire  from  the  Besbian  mountain.  And  the 
astonishment  with  which  the  news  of  it  was  received, 
and  the  effect  upon  men's  minds,  may  be  gathered 
from  the  accounts  which*  have  come  down  to  us.  Dio 

1  De  Ser.  Num.  Vind.  t.  viii.  p.  240  ;  De  Pyth.  Orac.  t.  vii.  p.  566. 


Cassius  1  asserts  that  the  ashes  reached  even  Syria  and 
Egypt.  To  the  Jews,  suffering  from  their  late  disasters, 
and  prone  to  look  for  God's  interposition  in  their 
behalf,  the  calamity  seemed  to  be  a  well-deserved  judg- 
ment on  their  conquerors,  and  a  sign  of  the  punishment 
which  was  to  subdue  the  enemy,  and  re  -  establish 
their  own  fallen  state.  The  supposed  Christian  origin 
of  the  book  is  inferred  from  certain  allusions  con- 
tained in  it ;  but  these  are  very  far  from  being  decisive. 
Thus  the  saying  of  grace  before  meals  is  (vers.  25  f.) 
noticed  as  a  special  mark  of  the  pious,  and  the  turning 
with  horror  from  temples  which  flow  with  the  blood  of 
sacrifices.  But  the  grace  at  meals  was  a  special  rabbinic 
practice,  and  the  animal  sacrifices  referred  to  may  be 
those  offered  by  heathens.  And  if  the  author  praises  the 
people  for  being  averse  from  unlawful  and  usurious 
gain,  he  is  not  necessarily  alluding  to  Christians,  but 
rather  applauding  the  ideal  Hebrew,  however  inappropri- 
ately to  what  we  know  of  their  actual  character.  We 
find  also  a  seeming  reference  to  the  total  immersion 
practised  by  the  early  Christians  in  the  rite  of  baptism. 
"  Ah  !  wretched  mortals,  lay  down  your  swords ;  away 
with  groans,  and  murder,  and  violence,  and  wash  your 
whole  bodies  in  the  perennial  waters,  and  raising  your 
hands  on  high,  ask  pardon  for  past  sins"  (vers.  161  ff.). 
5ut  this  may  just  as  well  be  said  of  the  proselyte 
baptism  practised  by  the  Jews.2  In  another  passage  the 
reproaches  heaped  on  the  pious  are  just  such  as  are  com- 
plained of  in  the  apologetic  writings  of  the  Christians, 
whom  their  traducers  "  attack  with  derision  and  calumny, 
1  L.  Ixvi.  23.  2  See  Schiirer,  ii.  323. 


attributing  their  own  evil  deeds  to  the  holy  worshippers 
of  God "  (vers.  3  7  ff.).  This,  again,  is  too  vague  to 
determine  the  question  either  way.  An  epilogue  about 
the  condition  of  men  after  the  judgment  was  thought  to 
be  sufficiently  orthodox  and  in  accordance  with  Christian 
notions  to  be  transferred  bodily  to  the  Apostolical  Con- 
stitutions, where  it  will  be  found  in  Book  v.  chap.  7. 
The  episode  there  is  indeed  somewhat  longer  than  that 
contained  in  the  MSS.  of  the  Sibyllines,  and  the  editors 
of  the  latter  have  added  the  verses  thus  preserved  to 
their  editions,  judging  rightly  that  there  is  sufficient 
authority  for  the  insertion. 

There  are  some  points  of  great  interest  in  this  book. 
Let  us  glance  at  the  contents.  Commencing  with  an 
address  to  the  nations  of  Europe  and  Asia,  the  Sibyl 
claims  direct  inspiration  from  the  true  God,  whose 
attributes  are  finely  expressed ;  and,  in  opposition  to 
the  false  oracles  of  Apollo,  she  professes  to  be  able  to 
narrate  events  from  the  first  to  the  tenth  generation, 
which,  in  Sibylline  utterance,  is  always  the  last.  Before 
doing  this  she  digresses  into  the  praise  of  those  who 
serve  the  great  God  and  bless  Him  before  they  eat  or 
drink,  and  offer  no  bloody  sacrifices,  living  honestly  and 
chastely,  the  laughing  -  stock  indeed  of  evil  men,  but 
approved  of  the  Lord,  who  shall  punish  the  mockers  at 
the  judgment,  separating  the  righteous  from  the  wicked. 
The  allusion,  as  we  have  already  noticed,  is  not 
necessarily  to  the  Christians,  and  the  passage  is  remark- 
able as,  like  one  above  mentioned,  offering  no  support  to 
millennial  opinions,  or  to  the  notion  of  a  first  resurrection 
which  prevailed  among  some  of  the  Jews  of  this  period. 


The  view  here  entertained  is  (like  that  enunciated  in  the 
Ascension  of  Isaiah,  etc.)  rather  that  of  an  universal 
judgment  to  be  followed  immediately  by  the  felicity  of 
the  righteous.  This  happy  reward  is  to  be  received  on 
earth  and  enjoyed  in  the  body ;  that  a  resurrection  is  to 
precede  it  seems  to  be  implied.  There  is  no  mention  of 
Christ  in  this  account  of  the  last  days,  which  is  incon- 
ceivable if  the  book  is  written  by  a  Christian.  But  all 
such  speculations,  not  based  altogether  on  revelation,  are 
necessarily  vague,  and  often  contradictory.  After  this 
reference  to  the  great  consummation,  the  Sibyl  proceeds 
to  notice  six  generations  of  Assyrian  kings,  commencing 
from  the  time  of  the  Flood,  followed  by  two  of  Median 
origin,1  and  one  each  of  Persian  and  Macedonian,  the  last 
ushering  in  the  Roman  dominion.  We  are  told  of  a 
battle  between  the  Medes  and  Persians  at  the  Euphrates, 
which  resulted  in  the  victory  of  the  latter ;  of  the  Trojan 
war,  when  "  boastful  Greece  "  brought  ruin  on  the  fields 
of  Phrygia ;  of  a  famine  in  Egypt  of  twenty  years' 
duration,  the  Nile  withholding  its  crop  -  nourishing 
waters ;  of  Xerxes'  invasion  of  Greece,  with  its  disastrous 
termination ;  of  eruptions  of  JEtna,  and  earthquakes  in 
Italy,  in  one  of  which  Croton  was  destroyed ;  of  the  war 
which  raged  in  Peloponnesus  ;  and  of  the  destiny  of  many 
other  nations,  the  verses  concerning  which  seem  to  be 
remnants  of  old  heathen  oracles,  and  are  curious  if  not 

The  allusion  to  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  and  the 
temple  gives  occasion  for  the  earliest  notice  of  the  legend 

1  In  this  period  occurs  an  eclipse  of  the  sun,  which  may  possibly 
be  the  one  noticed  by  Thales,  B.C.  585. 



concerning  Nero,  which  was  at  one  time  so  widely 
prevalent.  According  to  this  notion,  Nero  did  not 
commit  suicide  on  hearing  of  the  proclamation  of  Galba 
and  the  desertion  of  the  army,  but  escaped  secretly  to  the 
East,  and  will  return  some  day,  enacting  the  part  of 
Antichrist,  and  making  havoc  of  the  Church.  Mention 
of  impostors  who  assumed  to  be  Nero  is  found  also  among 
the  heathen  writers  who  have  treated  of  this  period — 
Suetonius,  Tacitus,  and  others.1  The  cruel  persecution  of 
the  Christians  under  this  emperor  led  them  to  look  upon 
him  as  the  type  of  the  great  enemy  of  the  gospel  whose 
advent  they  expected  in  the  last  days.  Many  have 
fancied  that  St.  Paul  referred  to  Nero  in  speaking  of 
"  that  Wicked  one "  who  was  to  be  revealed  in  time 
(2  Thess.  ii.).  Indeed,  so  intense  was  the  hatred  of  Nero, 
entertained  alike  by  Jews  and  Christians,  that  no  evil 
was  too  monstrous  to  be  assigned  to  him — the  former 
regarding  him  as  virtually  the  destroyer  of  their  city  and 
polity,  the  latter  finding  in  him  all  the  attributes  of  the 
great  enemy  of  God  and  man,  whose  appearance  they 
were  led  to  expect.  The  near  approach  of  the  final  con- 
summation was  supposed  to  be  heralded  by  the  eruption 
of  Vesuvius,  which  was  regarded  as  an  instance  of  Divine 
vengeance,  and  was  to  be  followed  by  the  return  of  "  the 
exile  from  Borne,  who  should  come  from  the  far  Eu- 
phrates, wielding  his  mighty  sword,  attended  by  myriads 
of  soldiers."  Other  signs  of  the  times  are  the  demolition 
of  Salainis  and  Paphos  by  an  earthquake,  which  visited 
Cyprus  A.D.  71,  and  which  is  mentioned  by  other 

1  Tacit.  Hist.  i.  2,  ii.  8 ;    Sueton.  Nero.  57  ;  Lactant.  De  Marie 
Per  sec.  ii. ;  Zonar.  xi.  18. 


authors,1  the  destruction  of  Antioch,  and  the  restitution 
to  Asia  of  the  wealth  which  Borne  had  plundered  from 
her.  This  last  event  was  the  subject  of  a  common  ex- 
pectation at  that  time,  seized  upon  with  avidity  by  the 
Jews  out  of  their  hatred  for  their  conquerors.  Lactantius 
(vii.  15)  expresses  the  general  feeling  or  hope  when  he 
says  :  "  The  Roman  name,  which  now  is  supreme  in  all  the 
world,  shall  be  utterly  abolished,  the  empire  shall  return 
to  Asia,  and  once  again  the  East  shall  bear  rule."  Tacitus 
tells  (Hist.  v.  13)  how  an  impression  had  prevailed  that 
in  certain  sacred  writings  2  it  had  been  foretold  that  at 
this  time  the  East  should  gain  the  mastery,  and  that 
Judsea  should  send  forth  conquering  princes.  In  view  of 
these  coming  occurrences  the  Sibyl,  as  we  have  seen, 
urges  all  men  to  repent  and  be  baptized,  for  God  was 
about  to  destroy  the  world  and  its  inhabitants  with  fire. 
The  book  ends  with  the  following  paragraph,  which  is 
worth- quoting,  as  showing  the  belief  of  a  Jew  or  a  semi- 
Christian  in  the  latter  half  of  the  first  century :  "  But 
when  all  things  shall  be  reduced  to  dust  and  ashes,  and 
God  shall  have  put  to  sleep  the  awful  fire  which  He 
kindled,  He  will  again  change  the  bones  and  dust  of  men, 
and  make  them  such  as  once  they  were.  And  then  shall 
be  the  judgment ;  and  God  Himself  shall  judge  the 
world  again  ;  and  those  who  have  done  iniquity,  them  the 
earth  shall  cover  with  its  heaps,  and  the  depths  of  dark- 
some Tartarus  and  Stygian  Gehenna.  But  the  pious 

1  Euseb.    Chron. ;   Senec.   Ep.   xei.  ;   Dio  Cass.   liv.  23 ;  Cramer, 
Anecd.  i.  334. 

2  Probably  Dan.  ii.  44  f.  is  meant.      Comp.  Sueton.  Vespas.  4 ; 
Joseph.  Bell.  Jud.  vi.  5.  4. 


shall  live  again  in  the  world  (/cocrftov),  enjoying  the 
incorruptible  happiness  of  the  immortal  God,  who  shall 
give  them  spirit,  life,  and  grace.  And  all  shall  see  each 
other,  looking  on  the  sweet,  joyous  light  of  the  sun. 
How  blessed  is  he  who  shall  live  in  that  time ! " 

Belonging  to  the  same  period  as  the  fourth  book,  or  a 
little  later,  is  the  fifth,  a  few  verses  possibly  being 
interpolated  at  the  beginning.  This  is  partly  the  work 
of  an  Alexandrian  Jew,  and  seems  to  have  been  written, 
like  other  productions  of  the  Alexandrian  school,  in 
order  to  introduce  among  the  Gentiles  Jewish  ideas 
concerning  monotheism  and  Messianic  hopes.  But  there 
are  some  items  which  are  clearly  of  Christian  origin,  as 
the  one  quoted  further  on  identifying  Jesus  with  Joshua. 
The  writer  of  some  passages  appears  to  have  had  some 
acquaintance  with  the  Eevelation  of  St.  John,  and  may 
possibly  have  been  a  renegade  catechumen,  and  the  same 
person  who  composed  the  interpolations  in  the  third  book, 
showing  such  implacable  hatred  to  Eome  on  account  of 
her  treatment  of  the  holy  people.  The  frequent 
references  to  Egypt  and  Alexandria  sufficiently  prove 
the  birthplace  of  this  poem ;  and  the  statements  con- 
cerning the  Roman  emperors,  down  to  the  time  of  the 
Antonines,  indicate  its  date.  The  writer,  who  calls  her- 
self the  sister  of  Isis,  deals  largely  with  history, 
beginning  with  Eome,  and  passing  thence  to  other 
kingdoms  and  lands,  and  concludes  with  a  description  of 
a  war  among  the  signs  of  the  Zodiac,  during  which  stars 
shall  fall  from  heaven,  and  shall  cause  the  total  con- 
flagration of  the  world.  The  Eoman  emperors,  from 
Julius  Csesar  to  Hadrian,  are  indicated  by  the  value  of 


the  numbers,  which  in  the  Greek  the  initials  of  their 
names  afford.  Thus,  J.  Caesar  is  he  whose  name  shall 
begin  with  "  twice  ten  "  (K),  Augustus  he  who  has  the  first 
of  letters  (A),  Tiberius  he  whose  initial  is  three  hundred 
(T),  and  so  on.  Hadrian  is  not  designated  by  his  num- 
ber ;  he  is  called  "  the  man  of  the  silver  head,  who  has 
the  name  of  a  sea."  After  him  are  to  follow  three  Anto- 
nines.  This  concludes  the  oracular  utterances  respecting 
Home.  The  rest  of  the  book  concerns  itself  with  the 
affairs  in  Egypt,  Judrea,  and  some  other  countries,  com- 
prising doubtless  many  ancient  oracles  once  extant. 
Some  few  points  in  the  historical  allusions  are  worthy 
of  mention.  Thus  here  and  elsewhere T  mention  is  made 
of  the  conquest  of  the  Persians  and  Medes,  and  the 
destruction  of  Babylon  by  Tiberius, — events  which  history 
has  failed  to  record,  and  which  belong  to  that  affecta- 
tion of  universal  dominion  which  was  the  product  of 
the  early  Eoman  empire.  Of  course  at  this  period  the 
ancient  Babylon  was  a  shapeless  ruin,  which  sheltered 
a  few  miserable  Jews  and  natives,  who  contended  with 
the  wild  beasts  of  the  desert  for  a  home  in  this  desolate 
region.  The  connection  of  the  Eomans  with  this  place 
was  very  slight.  When  L.  Vitellius  had  the  com- 
mand in  Syria,  he  took  part  in  a  civil  war  among  the 
Parthians,  and  on  one  occasion  led  his  forces  to  the 
Euphrates,  and  for  a  short  time  occupied  the  site  of 
Babylon.  This  proceeding  was  magnified  by  rumour; 
and  becoming  in  the  course  of  time  confused  with 
Trajan's  expeditions  to  the  East,  and  the  capture  of 
Seleucia  and  Ctesiphon  in  the  days  of  M.  Aurelius 
Mii.  384,  xii.  40  f. 


Antoninus  and  L.  Verus,  it  was  regarded  as  Kome's 
great  victory  over  the  far  -  famed  capital  of  Chaldsea. 
The  expectation  of  Nero's  return,  as  the  superhuman 
enemy  of  God,  crops  up  again  in  this  book.  He  is  to 
come  from  Persia  and  overrun  Egypt  (vers.  92  ff.) ;  but, 
daring  to  attack  the  sacred  city,  shall  be  overthrown  by 
a  mighty  king  sent  from  heaven,  and  then  shall  ensue 
the  universal  judgment.  Nero  appears,  too,  as  the 
devastator  of  Greece ;  and  some  of  his  prominent  crimes 
are  mentioned  with  abhorrence.  When  he  flees  from 
Eome,  he  is  said  "  to  leave  Babylon,"  this  name  being 
often  given  to  Eome  in  the  Sibylline  Oracles — a  fact 
which  may  help  expositors  of  1  Peter  and  the  Eevela- 
tion.  After  the  destruction  of  the  Holy  Temple,  and 
when  this  Adversary  shall  have  reigned  three  years,  a 
star  shall  fall  from  heaven  and  dry  up  the  sea,  and 
consume  "  Babylon  "  itself  and  the  land  of  Italy.  Here 
there  is  evidently  some  acquaintance  with  Christian 
apocalyptic  literature,  though  the  knowledge  is  dim 
and  imperfect.  The  writer's  hatred  of  the  Eoman  name 
has  led  him  to  attribute  unheard  -  of  atrocities  to  the 
Antonines.  Beliar,  Antichrist,  or  Nero  redivivus,  who 
will  have  such  power  as  was  never  before  given  unto 
man,  will  overthrow  the  three  princes  that  spring  from 
Hadrian,  and  compel  them  not  only  to  slay  one  another, 
but  even  to  eat  one  another's  flesh,  so  that  the  sons 
make  a  banquet  of  the  father's  limbs  (vers.  220  ff.). 
Most  of  the  so-called  Oracles  are  saved  from  gross  error 
by  being  confined  to  events  that  had  already  happened, 
but  this  was  really  a  prediction,  and  was  not  warranted 
by  the  event ;  but  it  is  curiously  paralleled  by  a  state- 


ment  in  the  Fourth  Book  of  Esdras  xii.  21  ff.,  which 
Alexandre  supposes  to  refer  to  these  times :  "  And 
whereas  thou  sawest  three  heads  resting,  this  is  the 
interpretation :  In  his  last  days  shall  the  Most  High 
raise  up  three  kings,  and  they  shall  renew  many  things 
therein,  and  they  shall  have  dominion  of  the  earth 
and  of  those  that  dwell  therein,  with  much  oppres- 
sion, above  all  those  that  were  before  them ;  therefore 
are  they  called  the  heads  of  the  eagle.  And  whereas 
thou  sawest  that  the  great  head  appeared  no  more,  it 
signifieth  that  one  of  them  shall  die  upon  his  bed,  and 
yet  with  pain.  For  the  two  that  remain  shall  be 
slain  with  the  sword.  For  the  sword  of  the  one  shall 
devour  the  other ;  but  at  the  last  shall  he  fall  through 
the  sword  himself."  In  connection  with  the  oracle 
against  Rome,  occur  a  few  lines  dooming  Gauls  and 
Britons  to  destruction  (vers.  199  ff.)  for  taking  part  in 
the  ruin  of  Jerusalem.  Vespasian,  it  seems,  summoned 
a  Gallic  legion  from  Syria  to  act  against  the  Jews,  and 
thus  gave  occasion  for  the  Sibyl's  invective,  which 
includes  the  destruction  of  Eavenna  as  being  the  port 
whence  the  expedition  sailed.1  Such  reckless  assertions, 
resting  on  no  basis  of  fact,  are  very  usual  with  this  poet. 
Thus,  to  vilify  the  conqueror  of  Jerusalem,  he  states  that 
Titus  dethroned  his  father  (ver.  39);  in  another  place 
(vers.  227  ff.)  he  thus  inveighs  against  Rome  :  "  Unstable 
and  of  evil  counsel,  and  by  evil  fate  begirt,  beginning  of 
sorrows  to  men  and  alike  their  end,  while  nature  by 
thee  is  now  outraged,  now  preserved,2  teeming  with  evil 

1  Tacit.  Hist.  iv.  39,  v.  1  ;  Joseph.  Bell.  Jud.  iii.  1.  4  f. 

2  The  meaning  is  obscure.    The  old  Latin  is  :  "  Dum  per  te  natura 


and  misery,  who  ever  longed  for  thee  ?  Who  did  not 
burn  with  wrath  against  thee  ?  What  fallen  king  ever 
died  in  thee  an  honourable  death  ?  Ill  hast  thou  every- 
thing disposed ;  thou  hast  brought  in  a  flood  of  wicked- 
ness ;  by  thee  the  fair  frame  of  the  earth  is  changed." 
Contrasted  with  the  iniquity  and  consequent  destruction 
of  Eome  is  the  predicted  prosperity  of  Zion.  When 
Persia  is  at  peace,  and  war  shall  no  longer  be  found 
in  her  borders,  the  holy  race  of  Jews  shall  once  more 
arise  superior  to  their  enemies.  Here  follows  a  passage 
(vers.  255  ff.)  which  seems  of  Christian  origin :  "  Now  a 
certain  excellent  man  shall  come  again  from  heaven, 
who  spread  forth  his  hands  upon  the  very  fruitful  tree, 
the  best  of  the  Hebrews,  who  once  made  the  sun  stand 
still,  speaking  with  beauteous  words  and  pure  lips." 
There  is  here  evidently  an  allusion  to  the  crucifixion 
of  our  Blessed  Lord,  which  reminds  one  of  the  Catholic 
hymn,  where  the  cross  is  spoken  of  as  a  tree — "  flore, 
fronde  fertilis,"  and  the  lines  in  the  "  Lustra  Sex  "  : — 

Crux  fidelis,  inter  omnes 
Arbor  una  nobilis, 
Silva  tamen  nulla  profert 
Fronde,  flore,  germine  ; 
Dulce  ferrum,  dulce  lignum, 
Dulce  pondus  sustinent. 

The  identification  of  Christ  with  Joshua  is  a  mixture 
of  Jewish  and  Christian  legend  which  is  unique.      It  is 

perit  rursusque  resurgit."  Friedlieb:  "Da  die  Schopfung  beschiidigt 
und  wieder  (las  Schieksal  erettet."  Floyer  :  "  Thy  creation  was 
pernicious ;  but  thou  art  preserved  by  fate  to  be  the  most  infamous," 
etc.  These  are  supposed  to  be  translations  of  the  Greek : 



no  question  of  symbolism  here,  as  Joshua  in  Christian 
writings  is  treated  as  a  type  of  Christ,  but  rather  the 
confusion  is  such  as  might  be  made  by  an  ignorant 
person  reading  Heb.  iv.  8,  "if  Jesus  had  given  them 
rest,"  and  concluding  that  Jesus  Christ  led  the  Jews 
into  Canaan.  The  author,  indeed,  identifies  himself 
with  the  Jews,  as  where  he  prays  (vers.  327  ff.) :  "  Spare 
Judaea,  Almighty  Father,  that  we  may  see  Thy  judg- 
ments ; "  and  were  it  credible  that  the  whole  book  was 
the  work  of  one  author,  we  should  regard  his  religion  as 
syncretic,  and  in  full  accord  neither  with  law  nor  gospel. 
But  the  book,  as  we  have  said,  is  of  composite  character, 
containing  heterogeneous  elements.  One  writer  may 
have  been  a  Christian,  another  filches  occasionally  from 
Christian  sources,  but  has  no  lively  faith  in  Christ ;  like 
many  of  his  countrymen  at  this  time,  he  suspends  his 
judgment,  and  instead  of  making  a  decision  expends  his 
energies  in  denunciations  of  the  hated  power  of  Eome, 
and  in  speculations  concerning  the  future.  We  need  not 
recount  these  various  predictions,  which  are  of  similar 
character  throughout,  and  have  no  historical  value.  They 
commonly  introduce  the  victories  and  overthrow  of  Anti- 
christ, or  the  Adversary,  and  contrast  them  with  the 
prosperity  of  Israel  under  the  Messiah.  The  author  in 
the  case  of  the  latter  subject  is  generally,  but  not  invari- 
ably, in  agreement  with  Eevelation.  He  speaks  of  the 
New  Jerusalem  which  Messiah  shall  build,  a  city  brighter 
than  sun,  and  moon,  and  stars ;  but,  in  opposition  to 
those  who  gave  a  spiritual  interpretation  to  such  pre- 
dictions, he  places  therein  a  temple,  eva-ap/cov,  corporeal, 
material,  whereas  St.  John  says  (Kev.  xxi.  22)  he  saw  no 


temple  there.  He  proclaims  the  extinction  of  the  two 
great  luminaries  in  the  heavens,  but,  apparently,  not  at 
the  same  time.  When  the  moon's  light  is  quenched 
an  universal  war  shall  ensue,  which  shall  be  specially 
localised  in  Macedonia,  where  the  Adversary  shall  over- 
throw the  Antonines,  and,  returning  thence,  shall  waste 
Asia  Minor,  Syria,  and  Egypt,  Judaea  alone  being  left 
at  peace.  When  the  sun  shall  set,  never  more  to  rise, 
the  whole  world  shall  lie  in  darkness,  except  the  land  of 
Israel,  which  shall  have  light  from  the  Lord.  This  awful 
time  shall  be  preceded  in  Egypt  by  the  freezing  of  the 
river  Nile,  and  an  irruption  of  barbarians  into  Asia 
and  Thrace,  and  shall  be  followed  by  the  destruction 
of  the  Egyptian  idols,  Isis  and  Serapis,  and  the  erection 
in  Egypt  of  a  temple *  to  the  true  God,  which  shall  last 
to  the  end  of  the  world,  when  it  will  be  destroyed  by 
the  Ethiopians,  who  then,  with  the  rest  of  the  evil-doers, 
will  meet  with  their  just  punishment  at  the  hands  of 
Almighty  God.  The  Sibyl  leaves  the  world  in  flames, 
saying  nothing  of  what  shall  be  afterwards.  This  gap  is 
supplied  by  a  later  oracle. 

The  next  piece  consists  of  Books  vi.  and  vii.,  which, 
from  internal  evidence,  seem  to  have  been  written  by  a 
Christian,  one,  however,  who  was  very  far  from  being 
orthodox,  and  held  the  doctrines  of  some  of  the  sects 
of  later  apostolic  times.  Ewald  sets  the  date  at  the 
end  of  Adrian's  reign,  Alexandre  nearly  a  century  later. 

1  This  is  not  the  Temple  of  Onias,  erected  near  Heliopolis  in  the 
time  of  Ptolemy  Philometor,  and  long  before  this  time  dismantled 
and  disused  (Joseph.  Bell.  Jud.  vii.  10.  4),  but  a  new  one,  which  was 
never  built,  though  it  may  possibly  have  been  contemplated,  perhaps 
with  some  support  from  Isa.  xix.  18  ff. 


The  latter  relies  on  some  lines  in  Book  vii.  (vers.  41  ff.) 
which  speak  of  the  rise  of  a  new  Persian  kingdom, 
infamous  with  vice,  and  an  expedition  of  the  Eomans 
against  it,  which  terminated  unfavourably,  and  which 
he  supposes  to  refer  to  the  proceedings  of  the  Emperor 
Alexander  Severus,  A.D.  232.  But  the  allusion  is  very 
obscure,  and  it  is  certain  that  the  emperor  on  this  occa- 
sion returned  in  triumph  to  Home,  and  that  the  Persian 
monarch  was  restrained  for  many  years  from  hostile 
operations ;  so  that  we  cannot  fix  the  date  of  the  poem 
from  this  passage,  which  in  fact  would  equally  well 
apply  to  the  defeat  of  Crassus  by  the  Parthians.  The 
threat  against  Judrea  for  its  treatment  of  Messiah  (vi. 
21  ff.)  may  be  a  prophecy  after  the  punishment  had 
fallen,  as  are  so  many  of  the  "  Oracles."  The  heresies 
which  the  author  affects  are  such  as  were  rife  in  early 
Christian  times,  and  we  shall  probably  not  be  wrong  in 
setting  the  date  of  this  piece  in  the  latter  half  of  the 
second  century. 

The  sixth  book,  a  very  short  one  of  only  twenty-eight 
lines,  is  not  a  vaticination,  but  a  hymn  to  Christ,  in 
which  are  set  forth  His  Divine  nature,  His  appearance 
and  ministry  in  the  world,  and  His  future  return. 
These  facts  are  produced  in  orthodox  language,  which  is 
deemed  worthy  of  quotation  by  Lactantius  and  Gregory 
Nazianzen,  and  was  not  unknown  to  Augustine.1  In  the 
mention  of  our  Lord's  baptism  occurs  the  legend  of  the 
fire  which  then  appeared,  to  which  we  shall  refer  again 
below.  The  Sibyl  applies  the  verb  "  he  saw  "  in  Matt. 

1  Lactant.  iv.  13  and  18 ;   Greg.  Naz.  Ad  t.  ii.  p.  144 ; 
Aug.  De  Civ.  xviii.  23. 


iii.  1 6  to  Christ,  not  to  John :  "  He,  escaping  from  the 
fire,  first  shall  see  the  sweet  Spirit  of  God  coming  upon 
Him."  Thus  far  all  is  not  unorthodox;  but  following 
the  tenets  of  the  Cerinthians  and  Ebionites,  the  writer 
holds  that  Jesus,  a  mere  man,  son  of  Joseph  and  Mary, 
received  the  Divine  nature  at  His  baptism  by  the 
descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  who  united  Him  with  Christ, 
the  eternal  Word  of  God.  He  recognises  two  natures  in 
Jesus  Christ,  and  one  Person,  and  always  professes  belief 
in  His  divinity.  His  words  concerning  the  Cross  have 
continually  been  quoted  as  confirming  the  doctrine  of 
the  Hypostatic  union  for  which  the  Council  of  Ephesus 
contended.  "  0  blessed  tree,"  he  says,  "  on  which  God 
was  stretched,"  or,  as  the  Latin  versifier  puts  it — 

0  lignum  felix  in  quo  Deus  ipse  pependit. 

Contrary  to  the  tradition  which  represented  Helena  as 
the  finder  of  the  Holy  Cross  (and  therefore  supporting 
the  earlier  date  assigned  to  this  book),  the  Sibyl  says 
that  the  earth  could  not  keep  the  sacred  wood,  but  that 
it  was  transported  to  a  heavenly  home,  to  appear  again 
at  the  last  day,  "  the  sign  of  the  Son  of  man "  (Matt, 
xxiv.  30).  The  same  expectation  is  found  elsewhere,  e.g. 
in  the  acrostic  in  Book  viii.  244,  which  is  rendered — 

Insigne  et  cunctis  aderit  mirabile  visu 
Nullo  sat  cultu  fidis  venerabile  lignum. 

In  these  early  times  it  is  plain  that  the  Cross  alone, 
without  the  figure  of  Christ  upon  it,  was  the  object  of 
veneration.  The  crucifix  was  of  later  origin.  Before 
leaving  this  book  we  may  observe  that  in  the  solitary 
denunciation  which  it  contains,  Judaea  is  addressed  as 


"  Land  of  Sodom,"  an  appellation  of  Jerusalem  common 
alike  to  the  prophets  and  the  Apocalypse  (comp.  Isa. 
i.  9,  10  ;  Ezek.  xvi. ;  Eev.  xi.  8). 

The  seventh  book,  which  from  internal  considerations 
is  rightly  considered  to  be  the  work  of  the  same  author 
as  the  preceding,  is  of  conglomerate  character,  and 
returns  to  the  usual  form  of  Sibyllines,  consisting,  that 
is,  of  predictions  concerning  various  nations,  interspersed 
with  certain  mystic  and  theological  statements.  The 
first  part  is  fragmentary,  containing  oracles  concerning 
Ehodes,  Delos,  Cyprus,  and  Sicily.  In  it  is  comprised  a 
paragraph  from  a  poem  on  the  Flood,  which  is  also  found 
in  Book  i.  This  contains  the  curious  myth  that  Phrygia 
was  the  first  country  to  emerge  from  the  waters,  and 
became  the  originator  of  idolatry.  The  same  legend  is 
found  in  other  of  the  Oracles,  e.g.  i.  196,  iii.  sect.  2. 
140,  v.  129,  and  seems  to  have  been  derived  without 
examination  from  the  prevalent  opinion  that  the  belief 
in  the  most  ancient  of  the  pagan  divinities  and  the  most 
antique  rites  of  heathenism  arose  in  that  part  of  the 
world.  There  is  another  tradition  which  makes  the  ark 
ground  on  an  Ararat  in  Phrygia,  near  the  city  Apamea 
Cibotus  (i.  261).  This  is  an  offshoot  of  the  preceding 
myth.  After  some  other  prophecies  we  come  to  the 
mention  of  Christ,  "  the  Begotten,  the  great  God," 
appearing  in  judgment.  Certain  signs  shall  herald  His 
advent,  specially  a  mighty  column  of  flame  in  the 
heavens,  which  shall  drop  fiery  destruction  on  the 
wicked.  In  mentioning  Christ's  dominion  over  the 
angels,  the  writer  has  expressions  very  similar  to  those 
used  by  Hernias  in  the  Pastor  (vers.  3,  4),  where  he 


speaks  of  the  angels  as  controlling  all  creation.  Still 
more  striking  is  the  parallelism  concerning  the  three 
towers  raised  in  heaven  wherein  dwell  three  daughters 
of  God — Hope,  Piety,  and  Religion  (a-e^aa^ocrvvrf},  and 
which  are  prepared  by  Christ  for  the  reception  of  the 
righteous.  Hermas  in  his  third  vision  sees  a  tower 
raised  in  heaven,  which  is  to  be  the  habitation  of  the 
just ;  but  instead  of  three  Virtues  dwelling  there,  he 
makes  seven,  viz.  Faith,  Temperance,  Simplicity,  Know- 
ledge, Innocence,  Gravity,  Charity.  It  is  strange  that 
neither  Hermas  nor  the  Sibyl  availed  themselves  of  St. 
Paul's  enumeration  of  the  three  theological  virtues,  Faith, 
Hope,  and  Charity.  The  Sibyl,  however,  errs  widely  from 
Holy  Scripture  and  the  lines  of  orthodoxy  when  fore- 
telling the  adoption  of  certain  sacred  rites  (vers.  76  ff.) 
which  shall  obtain  in  Messiah's  time.  "  Thou  shalt  offer 
sacrifice,"  we  read,  "  to  the  great  immortal  God,  not 
melting  with  fire  the  grain  of  incense,  nor  slaying  with 
the  knife  the  shaggy  lamb ;  but,  in  company  with  all 
who  share  thy  blood,  taking  woodland  birds,  thou  shalt 
pray  and  let  them  fly,  turning  thine  eyes  to  heaven,  and 
thou  shalt  pour  water  in  libation  into  the  pure  fire  with 
these  words :  O  Father,  as  the  Father  begat  Thee,  the 
Word,  I  send  forth  this  bird,  the  swift  messenger  of  my 
words,  with  holy  water  besprinkling  Thy  baptism  through 
which  from  the  fire  Thou  didst  appear."  The  Greek  is 
obscure,  but  the  ceremony,  consisting  in  letting  a  bird 
fly  to  convey  prayer  to  heaven,  is  plain  enough,  and  is  a 
remnant  of  Judaism  unknown  to  any  Christian  com- 
munity. The  allusion  also  to  the  fire  in  the  Jordan  at 
Christ's  baptism  is  evident.  A  paragraph  concerning 


false  prophets  who  feign  themselves  Hebrews,  Alexandre 
calls  the  last  gasp  of  expiring  Judaism  (vers.  132  ff.). 
It  upbraids  these  men  with  magnifying  the  evil  of  the 
coming  epoch,  and  striving  to  change  the  ancient  Jewish 
discipline.  They  and  all  such  shall  perish,  and  a  new 
world  shall  appear  "  in  the  third  allotment  of  rolling 
years,  within  the  first  octave."  This  mysterious  date  has 
been  variously  interpreted,  and  more  pains  have  been 
wasted  on  it  than  its  importance  demands.  Alexandre, 
who  has  examined  the  matter  with  his  accustomed 
diligence,  decides  that  the  writer  refers  to  the  year  350  of 
the  Actiatic  era,  which  corresponds  to  A.D.  380.  At  this 
time  the  final  age  commences,  Antichrist  is  to  appear, 
and  be  finally  defeated ;  then  shall  follow  the  last  great 
convulsion,  and  the  terrestrial  reign  of  the  pious  under 
the  sovereignty  of  Messiah,  God  Himself  being  with 
them  and  teaching  them. 

The  book  ends  with  a  curious  epilogue,  which  is  found 
somewhat  watered  down  in  the  second  book.  In  this 
the  Sibyl  accuses  herself  of  various  crimes,  for  which  she 
deserves  and  shall  receive  punishment.  She  is  not 
immortal,  but  will  some  day  be  slain  by  a  shower  of 
stones  cast  upon  her  by  sailors  passing  near;  and  she 
concludes  with  the  prayer :  "  Stone  me,  stone  me,  all  ye 
wayfarers ;  thus  shall  I  live  and  fix  my  eyes  on  heaven." 
It  is  impossible  to  determine  the  reason  of  the  introduc- 
tion of  this  self-accusation  in  this  place.  "We  know 
nothing  of  its  grounds,  and  cannot  conjecture  the  object, 
unless  it  be  a  hostile  interpolation  intended  to  throw 
discredit  on  the  Sibyl. 

The  eighth  book  has  been  divided  by  editors  into  four 


parts,  of  which  the  first  two  are  of  earlier  date  than  the 
rest  and  by  a  different  hand.  The  earlier  portion  falls 
into  the  time  of  the  Antonines,  the  latter  is  a  little  later. 
The  writer  speaks  of  the  adopted  sons  of  Adrian,  but  he 
knows  no  details  concerning  any  but  M.  Aurelius,  in 
whose  time  he  expects  the  return  of  Nero,  the  fall  of 
Eome,  the  end  of  the  world,  and  the  judgment.  But  his 
acquaintance  with  M.  Aurelius  is  very  superficial,  as  he 
represents  him  as  avaricious,  and  flying  to  Asia  in  order 
to  save  his  treasures  from  Nero.  He  must  have  written 
therefore  between  A.D.  161  and  180,  during  which  years 
Aurelius  reigned.  The  author  of  this  portion  is  a  Jew, 
as  we  may  conclude  from  his  continual  references  to  the 
Old  Testament  and  the  way  in  which  he  speaks  of  the 
Hebrews,  but  one  who  had  some  acquaintance  with 
Christian  doctrine  and  writings.  He  is  thus  to  be  placed 
in  the  same  category  as  the  writer  of  Book  v.,  if  he  is 
not  to  be  identified  with  him. 

At  the  outset  the  Sibyl  professes  an  intention  of  pro- 
claiming the  wrath  of  God  upon  the  nations  and  the 
approaching  end  of  the  world ;  but  little  mention  is 
made  of  any  country  but  Rome,  and  the  Sibyl's  mind  is 
wholly  occupied  with  the  destiny  of  this  enemy  of  her 
people.  The  vice  which  she  specially  and  eloquently 
lashes  is  avarice ;  this  sin  it  is  which  shall  occasion 
Rome's  downfall.  After  fifteen  princes  have  reigned  in 
succession,  "  the  white-headed  "  Adrian  shall  follow,  who 
shall  be  greatly  regretted  and  mourned,  as  if  the  city 
itself  had  perished.  Then,  as  it  seems,  in  the  time  of  his 
successor,  Almighty  God  Himself  shall  come  and  judge 
the  souls  of  the  quick  and  dead ;  but  before  the  consum- 


mation  a  dragon  shall  cross  the  sea,  with  well-filled 
maw,  and  shall  afflict  the  Eoman  people.  This  seems 
to  be  a  remembrance  of  the  dragon  or  the  beast  of 
Kevelation  xiii.,  which  the  Sibyl  represents  as  coming 
from  Asia  with  a  fleet  to  attack  and  destroy  guilty 
Eome,  which  is  to  be  thrust  down  into  hell.  A  descrip- 
tion of  Hades  ensues,  whereon  rests  eternal  night,  where 
all  earthly  distinctions  are  abolished,  where  "there  is 
neither  slave,  nor  lord,  nor  tyrant,  nor  king  ; "  no  corrupt 
judge,  no  libation  or  sacrifice,  no  feasting  or  music,  no 
wrath  or  strife,  but  "  one  common  life  for  all,  which 
keeps  them  safe  for  the  day  of  judgment."  Another 
portent,  which  shall  precede  the  return  of  Nero  and  the 
end  of  the  world,  is  the  appearance  of  the  Phoenix  for 
the  fifth  time.1  The  curious  myth  concerning  the  Phoenix 
is  given  in  various  authors.  Clemens  Komanus  tells  it 
thus :  In  Arabia  or  some  other  Eastern  countries  there  is 
a  bird  called  a  Phoenix,  which  lives  for  five  hundred 
years  a  solitary  life.  When  it  feels  death  approaching, 
it  constructs  for  itself  a  pile  of  frankincense,  myrrh,  and 
other  aromatic  herbs,  and,  lying  there,  dies.  From  its 
decaying  carcass  a  worm  is  engendered,  which  assumes 
the  appearance  of  the  deceased  bird.  This  young  Phoenix 
carries  the  remains  of  its  parent  to  Heliopolis  in  Egypt, 
places  them  on  the  Altar  of  the  Sun,  and  returns  whence 
it  came.  The  priests  keep  an  accurate  account  of  this 
event,  and  compute  the  time  of  its  recurrence.  The 
fourth  appearance  of  the  bird  is  said  to  have  taken  place 
in  the  time  of  Tiberius,  A.D.  34,  A.U.C.  787.  The  Sibyl's 

1  See  Herod,  ii.  73  ;   Tacit.  Ann.  vi.  28 ;  Plin.  Nat.  Hist.  x.  2  ; 
Clem.  Rom.  1  Ep.  ad  Gor.  xxv. ;  Tertull.  De  Resurr.  xiii. 



reckoning  is  quite  different,  as  she  expects  the  fifth 
resuscitation,  which  was  to  coincide  with  the  ruin  of 
Eome,  to  occur  A.U.C.  948.  This  would  be  equivalent  to 
A.D.  194,  or  nearly,  and  would  fall  in  with  the  reign  of 
Septimius  Severus.  The  date  doubtless  depends  on  the 
numerical  value  of  p^w  =100  4-800+48;  and  the 
prediction,  however  greatly  falsified  by  the  event,  was 
the  utterance  of  an  earnest  hope,  expressed  confidently 
in  this  form,  in  order  to  animate  the  drooping  spirits  of 
the  subdued  and  disconsolate  Jews.  It  is  difficult  to 
arrive  at  any  clear  view  of  the  sequence  of  events  in 
these  last  days,  the  writer  himself  having  but  hazy 
notions  on  the  subject,  and  not  arranging  his  details 
chronologically.  There  are  also  many  gaps  in  the  MSS., 
which,  if  supplied,  would  doubtless  clear  up  some  ob- 
scurities. As  far  as  we  can  understand  this  mysterious 
period,  the  circumstances  are  these : l  At  the  time  that 
Anti-Messias  or  Nero  invades  the  Roman  empire,  and  before 
the  destruction  of  Eome  itself,  Messiah  descends  from 
heaven,  "  the  Holy  King,  who  shall  reign  over  Israel,  and 
call  the  dead  from  their  graves."  He  shall  inaugurate  a 
new  Jerusalem,  with  a  new  material  temple,  peopled  partly 
by  Jews  collected  from  all  parts  of  the  world,  partly  by 
the  just  who  have  been  raised  to  life  again.  Against 
Him  the  Antichrist  shall  conspire  in  conjunction  with 
certain  barbarian  kings ;  but  after  various  portents — 
stars  falling  from  heaven,  and  a  great  comet  appearing — 
he  and  his  allies  shall  be  defeated  by  an  angel,  and 
hurled  into  the  abyss.  And  another  foe,  a  woman,  shall 
be  overthrown.  She  is  here  called  "  the  joyous,"  and  in 
1  Thus  Alexandra  arranges  them. 


Book  iii.  "  the  widow ; "  and  she  shall  be  a  powerful 
queen,  exercising  a  cruel  tyranny,  in  the  tenth  age  of 
man.  This  woman  is  no  historical  person, — certainly 
not  Julia,  the  wife  of  Septimius  Severus,  as  some  have 
thought, — but  the  one  figured  in  Eevelation  xvii.,  xviii., 
there  certainly,  here  probably,  representing  Rome.  In 
these  eschatological  predictions  there  are  some  differences 
from  the  details  afforded  by  the  previous  books.  In  the 
fifth  the  empire  of  the  Jews  under  Messiah  was  to  be 
terminated  by  an  irruption  of  Ethiopians,  and  the  whole 
world  was  to  perish  owing  to  some  sidereal  catastrophe. 
The  earlier  part  of  the  present  book  takes  up  the  story 
after  this  result,  and  expects  a  renovated  earth,  which  is 
inhabited  by  the  just  of  all  countries,  raised  to  life  after 
the  last  judgment.  Further  particulars  concerning  the 
last  judgment  are  afforded  by  the  next  portion  of  this 
eighth  book,  which,  as  it  has  come  down  to  us,  com- 
mences with  the  famous  acrostic  on  the  title  of  Christ 
already  mentioned.  St.  Augustine  gives  a  Latin  version 
of  this,  omitting  the  last  word  "  stauros ; "  Eusebius 
preserves  the  original  thirty-four  lines  l  in  his  account  of 
Constantine's  Oratio  ad  Sanctos,  where  the  emperor 
quotes  the  verses,  as  a  testimony  to  the  divinity  of 
Christ,  uttered  by  the  Erythraean  Sibyl  many  centuries 
before  the  Christian  era.  The  acrostic  itself  contains  a 
description  of  the  day  of  judgment  and  the  events  that 
shall  succeed,  and  has  many  points  of  resemblance  with 
the  Procemium,  at  which  we  have  already  glanced.  The 
author  was  a  Christian,  though  he  probably  worked  up 

1  In  some  MSS.  the  ninth  line,  representing  the  "  E  "  of  Chreistos, 
is  absent,  which  shows  that  the  spelling  of  the  word  still  fluctuated. 


Jewish  materials  in  composing  his  poems ;  and  in  the 
present  case,  wishing  to  emulate  the  ancient  Sibyl  in  the 
form  of  his  oracle,  he  prefaced  his  prophecy  with  this 
acrostic,  which  has  become  more  celebrated  than  its 
author  could  have  ever  expected.  We  may  suppose  that 
in  his  desire  to  give  verisimilitude  to  his  utterance  he 
took  words  which  were  oftenest  on  the  lips  of  Christians, 
adding  Sravpcs  at  the  end  as  the  most  venerated  of 
memorials,  and  perhaps  (as  Alexandre  suggests)  with  the 
view  of  making  the  title  into  a  spondaic  hexameter. 
Whether  the  author  intended  to  carry  the  same  form 
through  the  whole  of  the  book  cannot  be  discovered ;  at 
any  rate,  he  soon  abandoned  it,  finishing  his  labour  with 
the  words :  "  This  is  our  God,  written  in  these  acrostics, 
the  Saviour,  the  King  immortal,  who  suffered  for  us, 
whom  Moses  prefigured  when  he  extended  holy  hands, 
by  faith  overcoming  Amalek,"  etc.  The  acrostic  ends  at 
"  who  suffered  for  us ; "  from  thence  the  poem  proceeds 
in  the  ordinary  manner.  It  must  be  noted  that  the 
initials  of  the  title  compose  the  word  IXOT2,  "  fish," 
the  emblem  of  the  Christian  faith  so  frequently  sculp- 
tured on  early  monuments.  In  the  account  of  the  great 
consummation,  we  are  told  little  that  is  novel.  Fire 
shall  destroy  earth,  sea,  and  sky,  and  the  gates  of  hell 
itself,  and  shall  convict  the  unrighteous  of  guilt ;  sun, 
moon,  and  stars  shall  fail,  and  the  heavens  shall  be 
rolled  up ;  hill  and  valley  shall  be  levelled,  rivers  shall 
be  dried,  and  the  voice  of  the  trumpet  shall  summon  all 
to  judgment.  The  Cross  shall  be  seen  in  the  sky.  The 
closing  lines  of  the  acrostic  concerning  the  Cross  are 
remarkable.  It  is  called  the  sign,  the  notable  seal  for 


all  men,  expressions  which  recall  our  Lord's  words  in 
Matt.  xxiv.  30:  "  then  shall  appear  the  sign  of  the  Son 
of  man  in  heaven,"  and  St.  Paul's  in  2  Cor.  i.  22  and 
Eph.  1.  13,  where  he  speaks  of  believers  being  "sealed," 
though  not  with  the  Cross,  nor  with  the  sign  of  the 
Cross  (as  some  Eoman  Catholic  expositors  take  it),  but 
with  the  Holy  Spirit.  Further,  it  is  named  "  the  much- 
desired  horn,"  which  seems  to  be  an  interpretation  of  the 
phrase  "  horn  of  David "  in  Ps.  cxxxi. '  1 7  and  Luke 
i.  6  9  ;  and  it  is  said  to  be  "  the  life  of  the  pious,  but  an 
offence  to  the  world,"  in  agreement  with  the  language  of 
St.  Paul  (Gal.  v.  11),  where  he  speaks  of  "the  offence  of 
the  Cross."  Then  follows  a  curious  verse,  "  which  en- 
lighteneth  the  elect  with  water  by  twelve  springs."  This 
is  explained  to  refer  to  the  mission  of  the  twelve  apostles, 
which,  as  it  were,  originated  from  the  Cross ;  but  the 
writer  seems  to  insinuate  that  the  office  of  baptizing  was 
committed  to  the  twelve  apostles  alone,  and  presumably 
to  their  successors, — an  opinion  which  he  repeats  again 
below  (ver.  271),  and  which  was  not  common  in  any 
section  of  the  Church.  He  ends  by  terming  the  Cross 
"  the  rod  of  iron  which  tends  and  rules  the  flock,"  ex- 
pressions which  may  come  from  Ps.  ii.  9  or  Kev.  ii. 
27.  It  is  interesting  to  find  this  adaptation  of  scrip- 
tural figures  to  the  Cross  at  this  early  age ;  later,  of 
course,  nothing  is  more  common. 

From  the  remaining  portions  of  this  poem  we  obtain 
some  further  glimpses  of  primitive  eschatology.  First, 
we  meet  here  with  the  use  of  the  word  "judgment"  for 
Christ's  first  advent  into  the  world.  The  first  judgment, 
in  this  view,  is  the  Incarnation,  which  is  regarded  as  the 


initiation  of  the  final  judgment,  perhaps  with  some  refer- 
ence to  such  passages  as  John  xvi.  11:  "  The  prince  of 
this  world  hath  been  judged,"  and  xii.  31:  "  Now  is  the 
judgment  of  this  world,"  though  plainly  in  conflict  with 
the  forty-seventh  verse  of  the  same  chapter :  "  I  came 
not  to  judge  the  world."  In  accordance  with  this  theory 
the  Sibyls  here  and  elsewhere  speak  of  Christ  judging  the 
world  "  again,"  when  they  refer  to  the  final  award.  Con- 
cerning the  sojourn  in  the  unseen  world,  we  are  told  that 
Christ  went  thither  to  carry  hope  to  the  dead  saints,  and 
to  announce  to  them  the  end  of  the  world.  Where  the 
Gospel  says  that,  for  the  elect's  sake,  the  last  days  shall 
be  shortened,  our  present  text  affirms  that  God  has  given 
men  seven  ages  for  repentance  "  by  the  hand  of  the  holy 
Virgin,"  i.e.  at  her  intercession.  These  words  are  allowed 
to  be  an  interpolation,  but  of  how  early  a  date  it  cannot 
be  determined.  Certainly  any  such  doctrine  is  centuries 
later  than  this  Oracle ;  and,  as  Alexandre  remarks,  the 
Sibyllines  always  represent  the  final  consummation  as 
close  at  hand,  and  any  postponement  of  this  event  for 
seven  ages  is  quite  alien  from  their  view.  A  similar 
interpolation  (probably  the  work  of  the  writer  of  the 
preface)  occurs  in  Book  ii.  312;  and  with  the  same  view 
of  honouring  the  Virgin  Mary  a  very  clumsy  alteration 
has  been  made  in  Book  i.  359,  where,  in  the  accounts  of 
the  miracle  of  the  five  loaves  and  the  five  thousand,  the 
glosser  has  changed  the  words,  which  he  has  quoted  from 
Book  viii.  275  ff.,  "the  fragments  shall  fill  twelve  baskets, 
«  hope  for  the  peoples"  into,  "for  the  holy  Virgin"  as  if 
the  remains  were  reserved  by  Christ  for  His  mother's 


Before  quitting  this  portion  of  the  book,  we  may 
observe  that  the  writer  firmly  believes  in  baptismal 
regeneration.  Christ,  he  says  (vers.  314  ff.),  rose  from 
the  dead  that  the  elect,  "  washed  in  the  waters  of  the 
immortal  fount,  and  born  again  (ava<yevvr)6evTe<;  avcoOev), 
might  no  longer  serve  the  lawless  customs  of  the  world." 
He  supposes  that  the  saints  in  glory  will  wear  crowns  of 
thorns  like  their  Master.  He  sees  in  the  rending  of  the 
temple's  veil  and  the  supernatural  darkness  at  the 
Crucifixion  an  intimation  that  the  old  law  was  no 
longer  to  be  observed  by  men  hitherto  blinded  by  the 
deceits  of  the  world.  He  considers  that  in  the  creation 
of  man  the  Father  says  to  the  Son,  "  Let  us  make  man," 
taking  Him  as'  His  counsellor  (crv^ouXo?)  not  only  in 
the  creation,  but  also  in  the  redemption  of  the  same.  "  I 
with  my  hands  will  make  him,  Thou  hereafter  shalt 
heal  him  with  the  word"  (ver.  267).  Thus  in  the 
ancient  document  called  the  "  Epistle  to  Diognetus " 
.(chap,  viii.),  it  is  said  that  the  Father  communicated  His 
wise  counsel  concerning  man  to  His  Son  alone.  In 
Christ's  hands  extended  on  the  cross  the  writer  recognises 
the  comprehension  of  the  whole  world  in  the  benefits  of 
the  Passion ;  in  the  wounds  in  His  hands  and  feet  he 
finds  a  representation  of  the  four  quarters  of  the  globe  as 
being  concerned  in  His  death.  He  puts  into  the  mouth 
of  God  some  lines  which  are  quoted  by  Herodotus  (i.  47) 
as  a  Delphic  oracle  :  "  I  know  the  number  of  the  sands, 
the  measure  of  the  sea.  I  understand  the  dumb,  and 
hear  the  silent  speak ; "  and  he  makes  Him,  in  com- 
manding men  to  show  charity  to  their  fellows,  direct  that 
they  feed  the  hungry  with  vegetable  food,  "  a  table  pure 


and  of  unbloody  food/'  whence  it  is  argued  that  the 
author  belonged  to  the  TherapeutaB,  one  of  whose  dis- 
tinguishing peculiarities  was  abstention  from  animal 

The  next  portion  of  this  book  is  a  hymn  in  praise  of 
God  the  Father  and  God  the  Son,  and  cannot  be  regarded 
as  an  oracle  ;  it  is  probably  of  the  same  authorship  as  the 
former  parts,  and  its  date  is  the  same,  or  a  little  later. 
Like  the  writer  of  the  last  section,  this  poet  makes  the 
creation  of  the  world  and  man  the  joint  work  of  the 
Father  and  the  Son,  or  the  Logos,  and  speaks  of  man 
being  made  like  to  the  form  (pop^rf)  of  God.  He  then 
proceeds  to  note  the  message  of  Gabriel  and  the  In- 
carnation of  Christ :  "  Eeceive,  0  virgin,  God  in  thy 
immaculate  bosom."  The  visit  of  the  wise  men  is 
mentioned,  and  there  the  narrative  part  of  the  poem 
abruptly  breaks  off,  the  rest  of  the  section  being  lost. 
This  doubtless  contained  an  account  of  the  life  and 
actions  of  Christ,  and  the  foundation  of  the  Church, 
merging  naturally  into  an  argument  concerning  Christian 
doctrine  and  ethics.  The  fragment  with  which  the  book 
closes  contains  a  portion  of  the  latter  subject,  and  is 
written  in  language  of  no  mean  order.  The  author  pro- 
fesses himself  a  Christian,  and,  in  opposition  to  the 
heathendom  still  prevalent,  announces  that  he  and  his 
brethren  are  bound  to  live  a  holy  life,  to  serve  God,  to 
love  their  neighbour  as  themselves.  They  frequent  not 
temples,  offer  not  prayers  or  libations  to  statues,  nor  deck 
their  altars  with  flowers,  nor  adorn  them  with  lights. 
They  hang  not  the  walls  with  costly  gifts,  nor  offer 
1  Philo,  De  Vii.  Contempt.  9  (vol.  ii.  483). 


incense,  nor  sacrifice  animals  ;  but  in  happy  concord, 
with  pure  and  cheerful  hearts,  they  worship  God,  delight- 
ing in  continual  feasts  of  love  (agapce)  and  generous 
offerings,  praising  God  with  psalm  and  hymn.  This 
is  a  beautiful  picture  of  primitive  Christian  worship, 
confirmed  by  other  notices,  and  quite  in  accordance  with 
the  simplicity  of  early  times. 

The  next  piece  of  the  Oracles  is  composed  of  Books  i. 
and  ii.,  and  as  Ewald  thinks,  the  first  portion  of  Book 
iii.  vers.  1-96,  though  Alexandre  sets  this  fragment  as 
the  production  of  the  author  of  the  anonymous  preface, 
and  written  by  a  monk  in  Justinian's  time  ;  but  it  is 
more  probably  of  a  composite  character,  and  derived  from 
more  than  one  source.  It  may  be  divided  into  two 
sections,  vers.  1—35,  and  vers.  36—96.  The  whole  piece 
is  of  Christian  origin,  and  for  the  most  part  of  orthodox 
character,  though  containing  some  trace  of  Origen's 
opinions,  and  it  is  to  be  referred  to  the  third  century. 
It  has  been  compiled  and  arranged  in  its  present  form  by 
some  later  hand,  which  has  also  contributed  some  prose 
interpolations  to  connect  the  various  fragments  of  which 
the  work  is  composed.  Indications  of  its  date  are  afforded 
in  various  passages.  Thus  in  ii.  45  ff.,  ii.  63  ff.,  there  is 
mention  of  the  persecutions  which  were  being  carried  on, 
and  the  constancy  of  the  martyrs,  and  this  could  refer  to 
nothing  subsequent  to  Diocletian  (A.D.  302),  and  from 
the  expressions  used  is  considered  to  allude  to  something 
of  earlier  date.  The  doctrine  of  Universalism,  which  is 
found  in  Origen's  works,  in  the  middle  of  the  third 
century,  is  brought  forward  in  more  than  one  passage  of 
this  piece. 


The  first  book  sketches  the  history  of  the  world  from 
the  Creation  to  the  Flood,  and  subsequently  up  to  the 
second  generation  after  Noah,  and  passes  on  to  the 
advent  of  Christ,  His  life,  death,  and  resurrection,  the 
foundation  of  the  Church,  and  the  dispersion  of  the 
Jews.  The  second  book  takes  up  the  story,  and 
prophesies  of  events  to  the  end  of  the  world.  The  writer 
for  the  most  part  keeps  close  to  the  Mosaic  account,  but 
occasionally  differs  from  it  either  in  details  or  by  additions. 
Thus  he  makes  Noah  send  from  the  ark  on  the  third 
occasion  a  bird  of  black  plumage,  which  remained  on  the 
earth  and  returned  no  more  ;  he  considers  Noah's  sojourn 
in  the  ark  to  have  lasted  only  forty-one  days ;  and  he 
introduces  God  as  commanding  Noah  to  preach  repentance 
unto  the  Antediluvians,  and  gives  the  discourse  of  the 
patriarch  in  full.  Friedlieb  notes  that  Theophilus1 
derives  the  name,  if  not  the  legend,  of  Deucalion  from 
the  first  words  of  Noah's  warning  on  this  occasion,  which 
he  gives  in  these  words :  Sevre,  /caXel  vfjuas  o  #eo<?  ei<? 
fjuerdvoiav.  That  Noah  is  called  by  St.  Peter  (2  Pet.  ii. 
5)  "  a  preacher  of  righteousness  "  is  an  intimation  of  the 
same  tradition  which  the  Sibyl  follows.  Here,  too, 
occurs  the  famous  enigma  on  the  name  of  God,  which  has 
exercised  the  minds  of  scholars  for  some  centuries,  and 
still  awaits  satisfactory  solution  (vers.  141  ff.).  It  is 
not  worth  while  to  waste  time  upon  it,  as  the  numbers 
given  are  uncertain,  and  differ  in  some  manuscripts,  and 
their  interpretation  is  only  conjectural.  The  griphus  is 
supposed,  with  some  appearance  of  probability,  to  mean 
1  Ad  Autol  iii.  p.  129. 


We  give  it  here  in  the  original,  as  it  would 
be  spoiled  by  translation  :  — 

£%<>>'  reTpotav^'Aoto;  sifti'  von  fte' 

Oil  TCpUTOil  Bt/0   lypXlUlU,OiT)   £%OVa<U  SX-UffTYJ) 

»j  Be  roc,  AO/THX,  xoil  tialu  oLtytovct,  B£  irivrs' 
rov  TTOCVTO;  S'  oipidpov  kx&TO'JTx'be;  tial  $1$  OXTCJ, 
x.ctl  rpsig  Tplg  (cil.  ^lg)  SsxaBgf,  avv  y  £7ndt. 

The  last  words  are  intended  to  represent  the  numerical 
value  of  the  enigmatical  name.  There  is  another  riddle 
on  the  name  'I^o-oO?  in  this  book  (vers.  326  ff.),  which  is 
plain  enough.  The  appellation,  it  is  said,  is  composed  of 
four  vowels  and  one  consonant  twice  repeated,  and  its 
numerical  value  in  888.  The  number  of  generations 
between  Adam  and  Noah  in  the  Sibyl's  history  does  not 
correspond  with  the  Mosaic  account,  the  former  making 
only  five,  the  latter  ten  to  intervene.  But  our  author 
seems  to  have  depended  on  Hesiod  as  well  as  Moses,  and 
to  have  endeavoured  to  combine  heathen  mythology  with 
Biblical  history.  According  to  him,  the  second  genera- 
tion consisted  of  a  race  called  Gregori,  who  are  named  in 
the  Book  of  Enoch  Egregori,  equivalent  to  the  Nephilim 
of  Genesis,  a  race  between  men  and  angels  ;  but  the 
Sibyl  does  not  countenance  the  notion  of  these  having 
anv  connection  with  the  daughters  of  men.  She  figures 
the  fifth  generation  as  that  of  giants,  and  Noah  as  one  of 
their  progeny.  That  a  Christian  with  the  Old  Testament 
before  him  should  deliberately  foist  into  the  inspired 
record  legends  of  no  authority,  and  often  contradictory  of 
Holy  Writ,  is  a  strange  anomaly,  but  one  which  can  be 
paralleled  by  the  treatment  which  the  Bible  experiences 
at  the  hands  of  theologians  in  modern  times,  who  place 


floating  myths  in  the  same  category  with  Biblical  stories, 
and  find  as  much  truth  in  a  heathen  fable  as  in  a 
scriptural  narrative.  The  remainder  of  the  book  is  not 
open  to  the  same  objection  as  the  preceding  portion, 
being  founded  on  the  New  Testament,  and  keeping 
pretty  accurately  to  the  details  therein  narrated.  The 
writer  quotes  St.  Matthew  v.  17:  "He  shall  fulfil  the 
law  of  God,  and  not  destroy  it"  (ver.  332,  and 
refers  to  St.  John  iii.  3  in  the  words,  "  being  born  again," 
ryevvrjOevTcs  avwOev,  though  he  certainly  errs  in  ascribing 
this  effect  to  the  baptism  of  John  the  Baptist  (ver.  340). 
He  calls  Christ  (ver.  345)  "  the  fair  stone,"  against  which 
the  people  of  Israel  shall  stumble.  This  is  evidently  a 
remembrance  of  1  Pet.  ii.  6,  8  :  "I  lay  in  Zion  a  chief 
corner-stone,  elect,  precious,  ...  a  stone  of  stumbling 
and  a  rock  of  offence ; "  and  the  statement  that  Jesus 
goes  to  Hades  to  preach  to  the  dead  (ver.  378)  is  derived 
from  the  famous  passage  in  1  Pet.  iii. 

The  second  book  takes  up  the  story  where  the  first 
left  it,  and  foretells  the  events  that  shall  happen  from 
the  time  of  the  overthrow  of  the  Jewish  polity  to  the 
end  of  the  world.  It  contains  many  lines  attributed  to 
the  gnomic  poet  Phocylides,  and  a  long  fragment  of  the 
spurious  Troirj^a  vovOerucov  which  passes  under  his  name. 
Alexandre  has  shown  that  Phocylides'  verses  had  become 
a  text-book  in  the  Alexandrian  schools,  where  his  gnomes 
were  committed  to  memory,  and  formed  the  groundwork 
of  ethical  teaching  from  the  time  of  Ptolemy  Phila- 
delphus.  Many  of  these  lines  found  their  way  into  the 
earlier  Sibylline  books,  and  were  adapted  to  Jewish 
doctrine.  The  "  carmen  suasorium  "  here  introduced  by 


the  Sibylline  author  may  have  been  founded  upon  the 
words  of  the  original  poet ;  but  it  has  suffered  so  many 
alterations  and  additions  at  the  hands  of  Jewish  and 
Christian  manipulators  that  it  is  impossible  to  consider 
it  as  in  any  real  sense  the  composition  of  Phocylides. 
The  fragment  is  introduced  to  explain  wherein  Christian 
virtues  consist,  and  what  must  be  the  lives  of  those  who 
shall  attain  to  the  reward  of  Messiah's  kingdom.  The 
contents  of  the  book  are  briefly  these :  After  the  disper- 
sion of  the  Jews  there  shall  ensue  a  general  corruption 
in  the  world,  and  tumults  and  wars,  in  the  course  of 
which  Borne  shall  be  overthrown  and  idolatry  abolished ; 
then  shall  good  men  have  opportunity  of  showing  their 
virtues  and  triumphing  over  evil.  Great  calamities  and 
portents  presage  the  last  times,  e.g.  the  appearance  of 
Belial  or  Antichrist,  the  return  of  the  twelve  tribes,  the 
coming  of  Elijah  from  heaven.  The  last  judgment 
follows,  with  the  punishment  of  the  wicked  and  the 
felicity  of  the  righteous. 

In  this  book,  a  great  part  of  which  is  derived  from 
others  of  the  Oracles,  there  are  some  points  to  be 
remarked.  Before  the  great  consummation  a  star  is  to 
be  seen  for  some  days  in  the  sky,  as  a  signal  for  those 
who  earnestly  contend  for  the  faith.  The  contest  then 
begun  is  well  called  (ver.  39)  a  "  ludus  iselasticus,"  one, 
that  is,  where  the  conqueror  is  carried  in  triumph  through 
a  breach  in  the  city  walls  to  the  temple  of  the  guardian 
deity.1  In  the  fragment  from  Phocylides  there  are  many 
passages  introduced  from  the  Gospels,  one  also  from 
Tobit  (iv.  16) :  "  Clothe  the  naked,  give  of  thy  bread  to 
1  Plin.  Ep.  x.  119. 


the  hungry;"  and  from  James  (ii.  13):  "Mercy  saveth 
from  death,  when  judgment  comes,"  and  from  Acts 
(xxi.  25):  "Eat  not  blood,  and  abstain  from  things 
offered  to  idols."  Among  the  portents  which  shall  pre- 
cede the  last  day,  and  which  are  mostly  the  same  as 
those  named  in  our  Lord's  discourse,  occurs  one  that  is 
strange  to  Christian  ears,  and  is  derived  from  a  heathen 
source,  viz.  the  birth  of  children  with  grey  hair.1  An- 
other prodigy,  mentioned  also  elsewhere,  is  the  inter- 
change of  seasons ;  a  third  is  the  cessation  of  parturition 
among  women.  This  last  omen  is  cited  by  Clemens 
Alex.2  as  contained  in  the  apocryphal  "  Gospel  of  the 
Egyptians."  The  appearance  of  Beliar  has  been  already 
mentioned.  This  name  of  Antichrist  is  derived  from  St. 
Paul's  use  of  it  (2  Cor.  vi.  15)  as  a  designation  for 
Satan,  and  it  is  found  in  the  Testaments  of  the  Twelve 
Patriarchs.  The  return  of  the  rest  of  the  Hebrews  from 
Assyria  is  expected  also  by  the  writer  of  the  Second  (iv.) 
Book  of  Esdras,  who  says  (chap.  xiii.  40  ff.)  that  in  the 
latter  time  they  shall  cross  the  Euphrates,  coming  from 
a  distant  land,  and  settle  once. more  in  their  own  country. 
The  Tishbite  shall  come  from  heaven  in  a  chariot,  not  to 
"restore  all  things"  (Matt.  xvii.  11), but  rather  as  a  sign 
of  the  destruction  of  this  world.  Then  the  four  arch- 
angels—  Michael,  Gabriel,  Raphael,  and  Uriel  —  shall 
bring  from  Hades  all  the  souls  of  men  to  the  tribunal  of 
God,  who  shall  clothe  them  again  with  flesh  and  bones. 
And  all  shall  pass  through  the  probationary  fire,  from 
which  the  just  shall  emerge  purified  and  saved,  but  the 
wicked  shall  perish  therein.  This  last  opinion  is  after- 
1  Hes.  "E.  K*I  'H.  179.  2  Strom,  iii.  6  (p.  532). 


wards  modified.  The  "  ignis  probatorius "  is  a  notion 
derived  from  1  Cor.  iii.  13  ff.,  and  is  acknowledged  by 
Augustine,  Lactantius,  and  other  early  writers.1  The 
Sibylline  writer  seems  to  hold  that  this  fire  will  destroy 
the  whole  world  at  the  same  time  that  it  will  try  every 
man's  work.  From  it  the  just  shall  be  borne  on  angels' 
hands  to  a  land  where  the  blessings  promised  to  Canaan 
shall  be  realised  to  the  full,  and  one  unending  day  of 
happiness  shall  reign.  And  in  their  own  felicity  the 
saints  shall  think  of  the  misery  of  the  cursed,  and  God 
shall  hearken  to  their  prayers,  and  save  some  from  the 
pains  of  hell.  The  author  does  not,  like  Origen,  believe 
in  universal  salvation.  His  words  are  these  (vers.  3  3  5  ff.) : 
"  Having  chosen  out  the  stedfast "  (eva-radeis,  probably, 
those  who  have  endured  the  fire)  "  from  the  unwearied 
flame,  and  removed  them  in  safety,  He  shall  send  them 
among  His  own  people  to  another  and  immortal  life." 
This  notion  of  the  salvation  of  any  of  the  condemned  is, 
as  we  have  seen,  opposed  to  the  sentiments  elsewhere 
expressed,  especially  in  vers.  309  ff.  of  this  book,  where, 
in  picturing  the  torments  of  hell,  the  writer  asserts  that 
there  is  no  place  for  repentance  or  mercy  or  hope.  The 
statement  in  the  text  appeared  so  dangerous  and  erron- 
eous to  the  editor  of  the  Oracles  in  the  sixth  century 
that  he  introduced  a  refutation  of  the  opinion,  composed 
by  himself  in  some  execrable  iambics,  which  Fabricius 
has  thus  translated  : — 

Haec  falsa  perspicue  :  nee  unquam  desinet 
Ille  impiorum  tortor  ignis  fervidus. 
Optarem  et  ipse  equidem  ista  sic  contingerent, 

1  Aug.  De  Civil,  xx.  18.  25,  xxi.  26  ;  Lact.  Div.  Inst.  vii.  21. 


Qui  maximis  maculis  inustus  criminum 
Deformor  ipse,  queis  plus  gratia  est  opus. 
Verum  erubesce,  nugigerule  Origenes, 
Qui  desituras  esse  poenas  dictitas. 

The  remainder  of  this  portion  of  the  Oracles,  which  is 
made  up  of  the  first  section  of  Book  iii.,  begins  with  an 
exhortation  to  the  Gentiles  to  turn  from  idols  to  the 
worship  of  the  true  God,  where  we  may  note  that  the 
mention  of  cats  and  serpents  as  objects  of  adoration 
places  the  author  at  once  in  Egypt.  It  then  proceeds  to 
speak  of  the  fall  of  Eome  and  the  eternal  kingdom  of 
Christ,  preceded  by  the  appearance  of  Beliar.  In  former 
books  we  have  seen  the  expectation  of  the  return  of  Nero 
as  the  great  enemy  of  God's  Church ;  in  these  later 
writings  we  hear  no  more  of  this  particular  phenomenon, 
but  the  Antichrist  is  announced  as  the  devil  personified. 
He  is  to  come  from  the  people  of  Sebaste  (which  was  the 
name  given  to  Samaria  when  rebuilt  by  Herod  the  Great), 
owing  doubtless  to  the  prediction  in  Gen.  xlix.  1 7 : 
"  Dan  shall  be  a  serpent  by  the  way,  an  adder  in  the 
path,  that  biteth  the  horse  heels,  so  that  his  rider  shall 
fall  backwards."  Eabbinical  interpretation  saw  in  this  a 
reference  to  Antichrist,  and  the  Fathers  adopted  the 
view.  Samaria,  indeed,  appertained  to  Ephraim,  not 
Dan ;  but  national  hatred  overlooked  this  slight  dis- 
crepancy, and  satisfied  itself  by  teaching  that  the  hated 
race  was  to  give  birth  to  this  Enemy.  If  we  can  identify 
Dan  with  Sebaste,  we  can  more  easily  see  why  this  place 
is  singled  out  for  its  bad  pre-eminence.  This  tribe  had 
become  a  by-word  for  idolatry,  and  the  serpent,  which 
was  its  emblem,  represented  the  power  of  evil.  It  is 


thus  excluded  from  the  tribes  of  Israel  whose  elect  are 
sealed  in  Eev.  vii. ;  and  St.  Gregory  could  write  : 1  "  Some 
say  that  Antichrist  is  coming  out  of  the  tribe  of  Dan, 
because  Dan  is  asserted  to  be  a  serpent  and  a  biting  one. 
Whence  also  in  the  partition  of   the  camp,  Dan  most 
rightly  pitched  his  camp  to  the  north,  signifying  him  in 
truth  who  had  said  in  his  heart,  '  I  will  sit  upon  the 
mount  of  the  testament,  in  the  side  of  the  north :  I  will 
be  like  the  Most  High'"  (Isa.  xiv.  13  f.).     This  Beliar 
will  show  forth  signs  and  wonders,  will  level  mountains, 
stop  the  tides,  quench  sun  and  moon,  raise  the  dead,  and 
by  these  lying  wonders  deceive  even  the  elect  Hebrews, 
as  well  as  Gentiles  who  know  not  the  law.     Then  all  the 
world  shall  fall  under  the  sway  of  a  widow  woman,  as 
we  have  seen  in  Book  viii.,  but  who  or  what  she  is,  is  a 
mystery   as   yet   unsolved.      Friedlieb   takes   her   to  be 
Cleopatra  ;   Ewald  holds  that  she  is  Julia  Domna,  the 
widow   of   Septimius    Severus,  and  mother  of   Caracalla 
and  Geta.      But  she  is  evidently  intended  to  be,  not  a 
historical   character,   but    a    mythical    personage,   whose 
existence  is  imagined,  as  has  been  already  noticed,  from 
some  hazy  remembrance  of  a  scene  in  the  Apocalypse  of 
St.  John.      Her  dominion,  and  that  of  Beliar,  shall  be 
brought   to   an   end    by   God    Himself,   who   shall   rain 
destructive  fire  upon  His  enemies,  "  and  then  shall  the 
judgment  of  the  mighty  God  come  to  pass  in  the  midst 
of  the  mighty  age  when  all  these  things  have  fallen  out." 
The  last  piece  of  our  Oracles  consists  of  Books  xi.,  xii., 
xiii.,  xiv.,  Books  ix.  and  x.  being  either  wholly  lost  or 
else  once  contained  in  some  of  the  other  books  (probably 
1  Moral,  xxxi.  24. 


in  Book  viii.),  afterwards  differently  arranged.  This 
portion  was  that  which  was  latest  found  and  edited,  and 
is  last  in  merit  as  in  date.  Alexandre  sets  it  as  written 
by  an  Alexandrian  Jew  about  the  time  of  Gallienus  and 
Odenathus,  A.D.  264.  Friedlieb  considers  Book  xi.  to 
have  been  composed  by  an  Egyptian  Jew  in  Trajan's 
days,  the  others  by  Christians  about  the  middle  of  the 
third  century.  Ewald  places  some  of  them  as  late  as 
A.D.  650,  and  sees  in  them  traces  of  an  opposition  to 
Mohammedanism ;  but  this  opinion  will  not  stand 
against  a  closer  examination.  The  author  is  undoubtedly 
a  Jew,  who,  by  mixing  with  Christians,  has  learned 
some  of  their  opinions,  and  modified  some  of  his  own. 
Thus  he  speaks  (xii.  30  ff.)  of  the  time  when  a  luminous 
star  appeared  at  mid-day  above  the  brightness  of  the  sun 
as  synchronising  with  the  coming  of  "  the  Word  of  the 
Most  High,  wearing  flesh  like  (O/JLOIOV)  to  that  of  mortals." 
And  in  another  passage  he  tells  how  in  the  time  of 
Augustus  "the  Word  of  the  great  immortal  God  came 
upon  earth."  But  generally  he  shows  himself  a  true 
Hebrew,  with  most  of  the  prejudices  of  his  nation.  The 
date  of  the  composition  is  about  the  middle  of  the  third 
Christian  century,  and  it  seems  to  have  been  the  work 
or  composition  of  a  single  author.  We  need  not  delay 
long  on  these  poems,  as  they  consist  mainly  of  plagiarisms 
from  former  oracles,  and,  where  original,  contain  crude 
accounts  of  past  and  senseless  conjectures  concerning 
future  events  which  time  has  completely  falsified,  and 
which  are  only  interesting  if  they  can  be  considered  to 
represent  current  opinion  at  the  period  when  and  in  the 
place  where  they  were  composed.  They  profess  to 


embrace  the  whole  history  of  man  from  the  Deluge  to 
the  time  of  Aurelian,  and  contain  some  difficulties  which 
are  probably  impossible  of  solution,  and  are  certainly  not 
worth  the  labour  that  commentators  have  bestowed  upon 
them,  as  they  doubtless  arise  either  from  the  writer's 
ignorance,  or  from  a  vivid  imagination  which  has  played 
havoc  with  history,  chronology,  and  geography.  Such  as 
they  are,  they  present  some  few  points  worthy  of  notice. 
We  meet  with  that  continual  confusion  in  the  names  of 
Eastern  nations  with  which  the  Christian  Fathers  have 
familiarised  us,  so  that  Parthians,  Persians,  Medes,  and 
Assyrians  are  used  almost  interchangeably.  Solomon  is 
said  to  have  secured  the  submission  of  the  Assyrians, 
and  induced  them  to  receive  the  law  of  God.  Homer, 
whom  earlier  Sibyls  have  treated  with  scant  respect,  is 
here  called  the  wisest  of  men,  and  the  great  instructor  of 
the  world.  But  he  is  said  to  have  lived  after  the  rise  of 
the  Parthian  kingdom.  The  computation  followed  in 
counting  the  years  of  Rome  differs  from  that  in  ordinary 
use.  Instead  of  tajdng  A.u.c.  725  as  the  date  of  Augustus, 
the  writer  deliberately  adopts  A.U.C.  620,  probably  with 
the  view  of  saving  the  credit  of  some  prediction  con- 
cerning the  fall  of  Rome  which  had  not  occurred  at  the 
specified  time.  The  account  of  the  emperors  of  Rome 
from  Augustus  onwards  is  full  of  mistakes  and  un- 
historicar  details.  Among  the  better  authenticated 
circumstances  is  found  the  story  of  the  "  Legio  Fulmina- 
trix,"  attested  also  by  Christian  and  heathen  authors.1 
The  Sibyl,  however,  makes  the  marvel  due  to  the  piety 

1  Tertull.  Apol.  v.  p.  63  ;  Ad  Scap.  iv.  p.  87  ;  Euseb.  Eccl.  Hist.  v.  5  ; 
Greg.  Nyss.  Or.  XI.  in  XL.  Mart. ;  Oros.  vii.  15  ;  Dio  Cass.  Ixxv.  8. 


and  prayers  of  Aurelius  himself,  not  to  those  of  the 
Christians  in  his  army ;  and  this  was  the  view  taken  by 
the  Koman  court  and  the  Gentile  world  generally.  A 
proper  appreciation  of  Nero's  character  is  shown,  who 
is  called  "  a  double  pest,"  in  allusion  to  his  deeds  as 
emperor  and  as  Antichrist ;  but  Domitian  is  highly 
lauded,  and  the  whole  world  is  said  to  have  loved  and 
honoured  him — a  proof,  if  one  was  needed,  that  no  man 
is  so  bad  but  some  will  be  found  to  regret  his  loss.  The 
prediction  concerning  the  final  destruction  of  Eome  is 
similar  to  one  which  has  been  already  noticed  in  an 
earlier  book.  The  catastrophe  is  to  occur  in  the  948th 
year — a  number  obtained  by  taking  the  numerical  value 
of  the  name  in  Greek.  The  author  must  have  written 
just  before  the  death  of  Odenathus,  king  and  priest  of 
Palmyra,  A.D.  271,  which,  according  to  Sibylline  com- 
putation, would  be  A.u.c.  920,  and  thus  the  fall  of  Eome 
was  to  happen  only  twenty -eight  years  afterwards.  But 
the  whole  reckoning  is  utterly  inconsistent,  as  in  Book 
xiv.  a  long  series  of  princes  is  introduced  between 
Aurelian  and  the  destruction  of  Eome,  which  would 
have  occupied  some  centuries.  This  calamity  is  not,  in 
these  last  books,  always  connected  with  the  appearance 
of  the  Anti-Messias.  This  personage  is  more  vaguely 
described  than  previously.  He  is  no  longer  Nero,  nor 
Beliar,  but  "  that  man,"  "  the  warrior,"  some  mysterious, 
unknown  person,  who  was  to  bring  untold  evils  on  the 
world.  Some  of  the  circumstances  formerly  ascribed  to 
Nero  are  here  assigned  to  Cyriades,  the  mock  emperor 
set  up  by  Sapor,  king  of  Persia  ;  and  there  are  certain 
details  about  this  tyrant  which  have  been  neglected  by 


•historians,  but  which,  coming  from  a  contemporary,  have 
doubtless  a  basis  of  truth.  Palmyra  is  named  "  the  city 
of  the  sun,3'  and  Odenathus,  as  its  king  and  priest,  is 
called  "  the  sun-sent  warrior."  That  it  was  besieged  by 
the  Persians  and  defended  by  Odenathus  is  a  fact  not 
otherwise  supported  in  the  history  of  these  times,  though 
very  probable  in  itself.  It  is  curious,  and  corroborative 
of  the  date  of  the  composition,  that  as  the  author 
approaches  his  own  times,  he  abandons  the  use  of  easy 
alphabetical  and  numerical  riddles  in  naming  the  em- 
perors, and  in  their  stead  employs  animals  to  designate 
royal  or  celebrated  personages.  Thus  Sapor  is  a  serpent, 
Valerian  and  his  son  are  bulls,  Macrianus  is  a  stag, 
Balista  a  goat,  Odenathus  a  lion.  This  change  in  indica- 
tion seems  to  show  that  discretion  was  needed  in  making 
remarks  on  contemporaries.  In  the  prophecies  concern- 
ing the  future,  which  could  offend  no  one  living,  the 
former  plan  of  designating  princes  by  the  initials  of 
their  names  is  resorted  to,  with  the  result  that  we  are 
presented  with  a  number  of  puzzles  which  are  incapable 
of  solution,  and  which,  if  solved,  would  only  show  the 
utter  absurdity  of  the  whole  series.  Out  of  the  in- 
extricable confusion  of  this  pretended  vaticination  Ewald 
has  attempted  to  produce  some  meaning  by  assigning  the 
book  to  the  seventh  century,  and  endeavouring  to  find 
the  names  of  Roman  and  Byzantine  emperors  under  the 
enigmatical  designations  of  the  poem.  The  attempt  is 
decidedly  a  failure,  as  the  list  of  princes  has  evidently  no 
historical  basis,  and  has  been  evolved  from  the  fervid 
imagination  of  the  writer,  whose  insane  ambition  of  acting 
the  prophet  has  led  him  into  ridiculous  errors.  Of  Ewald's 


ingenious  theory  Alexandre  speaks  thus  :  "  Ita  vir  summus, 
quod  in  vario  incepto  necesse  erat,  nihil  profecit,  nisi  ut 
novam  sibi  laudem,  Sibyllinae  rei  lucem  nullam  afferret." 

The  common  opinion,  that  after  Christ's  advent  the 
heathen  oracles  became  silent  and  ceased  to  be  consulted, 
is  refuted  by  this  Sibyl,  who  more  than  once  refers  to 
the  answers  lately  given  by  their  media.  That  their 
credit  had  greatly  diminished,  and  that  the  ancient 
shrines,  were  less  frequented  for  fatidical  purposes  in 
the  first  Christian  century,  is  true  enough  ;  but  super- 
stition dies  hard,  and  we  may  take  the  Sibyl's  testimony 
as  true,  that  up  to  the  close  of  the  third  century  oracles 
in  Greece  itself  and  in  the  islands,  in  Cilicia  and  else- 
where in  Asia,  were  still  consulted,  and  their  responses 
obtained  some  credit.  Indeed,  we  know  from  history 
that  Titus,  Adrian,  and  even  Constantine  himself  were 
not  above  inquiring  at  the  mouth  of  a  soothsaying 
priestess.  There  was  no  reason  in  the  nature  of  things 
why  one  author  should  not  add  his  contribution  to  the 
Oracles  then  extant,  little  foreseeing  how  soon  it  would 
be  made  a  criminal  offence  to  have  recourse  to  such 
means  of  divination.  And  though  for  a  short  time  this 
enactment  was  abrogated  by  the  Emperor  Julian,  who,  on 
the  eve  of  his  expedition  against  the  Persians,  consulted 
all  existing  oracles,  yet  it  was  soon  reimposed  and  enforced, 
and  thus  at  length  Delphic  utterances  were  silenced. 

The  latter  part  of  this  final  book  is  taken  up  with  an 
account  of  the  disputes  between  the  Greeks  and  Jews 
dwelling  at  Alexandria.  The  latter  were  a  very  strong 
body,  amounting  to  one-third  of  the  whole  population, 
and  living  in  a  separate  quarter  of  the  city.  After 


many  conflicts  peace  is  established  between  the  two 
rival  communities,  and  then  begins  a  time  of  happiness, 
which  is  described  in  glowing  terms,  such  as  are  generally 
used  in  picturing  the  reign  of  Messiah.  But  there  is  no 
such  reference  in  this  book ;  and  it  is  worthy  of  notice 
that  the  promised  felicity  should  assume  this  novel  form. 
After  the  prosperous  period  at  Alexandria  shall  have  en- 
dured for  some  long  indefinite  time,  "  the  harvest  of  men  " 
shall  arrive,  and  the  dead  being  recalled  to  life,  a  new 
state  of  things  shall  be  introduced.  "  The  holy  nation 
shall  reign  supreme  in  all  the  earth  under  the  eternal  rule 
of  its  ancient  worthies."  This  is  a  remarkable  statement, 
as  it  is  deliberately  altered  from  that  in  Books  viii.  and 
iii.,  where  the  advent  and  dominion  of  a  "  holy  king  "  is 
announced ;  and  it  seems  in  part  to  favour  the  notion  of 
the  earlier  sect  of  Zealots,  who  would  have  no  monarch 
except  Jehovah  to  reign  over  them ;  but  it  introduces  an 
innovation,  as  it  foretells  for  the  Hebrews  a  kind  of  re- 
public, of  which  the  presidents  should  be  Abraham  and 
Moses,  and  other  celebrated  leaders  risen  from  the  dead. 
Such  is  a  brief  account  of  the  Sibylline  Oracles. 
From  what  has  been  said  it  will  be  clear  that  they  are 
to  be  regarded  as  literary  productions,  assuming  the  form 
of  predictions,  and  taking  the  place  of  the  lost  books, 
but  possessed  of  no  claim  to  inspiration,  conscious  or 
unconscious,  and  intended  to  give  a  fictitious  support  to 
tenets  which  the  pagans  would  receive  with  disfavour. 
The  historical  portion,  which  forms  two- thirds  of  the 
whole  collection,  contains  very  little  that  is  really 
valuable,  though  there  are  doubtless  some  additionary 
details  which  may  be  authentic,  though  otherwise  un- 


supported.     But  the  difficulty  of  severing  the  true  from 
the  mythical  renders  such  paragraphs  almost  useless. 

There  are  many  allusions  to  the  facts  mentioned  in 
the  Gospels  in  these  post  -  Christian  "  Oracles,"  but 
scarcely  any  additions  to  the  matters  narrated  therein 
The  most  notable  is  the  story  of  the  fire  kindled  in 
Jordan  when  our  Lord  was  baptized,  a  legend  which  is 
also  mentioned  by  Justin  Martyr  (Dial.  88),  and  (though 
under  a  different  tradition)  in  the  Ebionite  Gospel. 
Justin  writes :  "  When  Jesus  came  to  the  river  Jordan, 
where  John  was  baptizing,  and  descended  into  the  water, 
both  a  fire  was  kindled  in  the  Jordan,  and  when  He 
came  up  out  of  the  water  the  apostles  of  our  Christ 
recorded  that  the  Holy  Spirit  as  a  dove  lighted  upon 
Him."  The  Sibyl,  as  we  saw  above,  thus  alludes  to  the 
same  event :  "  When,  in  the  flesh  which  was  given  Him, 
He  came  forth,  having  bathed  in  the  stream  of  the  river 
Jordan,  which  rolls,  sweeping  on  its  waves  with  grey 
foot,  He,  escaping  from  the  fire,  first  shall  see  the  sweet 
Spirit  of  God  coming  upon  Him  with  the  white  wings  of 
a  dove."  Nothing  else  of  moment  as  an  addition  to  the 
Christian  story  is  noticeable ;  and  the  variations  in  the 
histories  derived  from  the  Old  Testament  are  only  such 
as  are  found  in  the  Targums  and  other  apocryphal 
Jewish  authorities.  The  "  Oracles,"  indeed,  are  valuable 
only  as  showing  the  development  and  modifications  of 
thought  at  the  momentous  period  covered  by  their  pro- 
duction. Jew  and  Christian  alike  availed  themselves  of 
heathen  sibyllism  for  some  four  or  five  centuries,  and 
the  result  is  shown  in  the  heterogeneous  collection  which 
has  reached  us  under  the  general  title  of  Sibylline  Oracles. 



Abraham,  213  ff.,  218,  221. 
Acrostic,  288,  323  f. 
Adam,  146,  208  f. 

life  of,  195. 

Age,  present  and  future,  the,  10  ff. 
Alexandria,  342. 

Angels,  evil,  21  f.,  58 f.,  94,  227. 
Angels,  fall  of,  22,  57 f.,  148. 
Angels,  good,  20  f.,  61,  93  f.,  227  f. 
Antichrist,  22,  313,  319,  322,  334, 

336,  340. 
Antiochus  Epiphanes,  116  f.,  297, 


Antonines,  the,  310 f.,  320. 
Apocalypse,  the,  85. 
Apocalyptic  works,  7  ff. 
Apocryphal  works,  5. 
Archangels,  20  f.,  58,  61,  94,  160. 
Archontici,  246. 
Aristobulus,  37  f. 
Asher,  174. 
Asmoneans,  112. 
Assumption  of  Moses,  the,  7,  21, 

95  ff. 

Atonement,  day  of,  226,  229. 
Azazel,  21,  58. 


Babylon,  309,  310. 
Balkira,  250  f. 

Baptism,  303,  325,  327,  332. 
Bar-Cocheba,  116,  181. 
Baruch,  Apocalypse  of,  7,  130ff. 
Baruch,  Book  of,  132  f.,  137. 
Beast,  the,  261. 
Behemoth,  155. 

Beliar,  22,  168,  249,  334,  337. 
Benjamin,  176. 
Berial,  249,  260  f. 

Canaanites,  231. 

Cerinthians,  187,  316. 

Christ,  17  f.,  41,  89,  184  f.,    254, 

262  f.,  270,  315  f.,  317,  328,  332. 
Christ,  baptism  of,  186,  188,  315, 

318,  343. 

Christ,  descent  of,  165,  188,  262. 
Christology,  89,  257  f. 
Chronology,  218  f.,  223,  319,  322, 

Cross,  the,  316,  324  f. 

Dan,  172,  336  f. 
Daniel,  Book  of,  82,  85. 
Dead,  prayer  for  the,  335. 
Diocletian,  329. 
Docetism,  256. 
Domitian,  145,  340. 


Ebionites,  179,  316. 
Ecclesiastes,  Book  of,  2. 
Eden,  Garden  of,  93,  208  f.,  216. 
Edom,  kings  of,  224. 
Elijah,  Apocalypse  of,  247, 

return  of,  334. 

Enoch,  210  f. 

Enoch,  Book  of,  7,  49ff.,  180,  198f., 




Esau,  182. 

Eschatology,    22,    91,    229,    297  f., 

306,  313  f.,  322 ff.,  333. 
Esdras,  Fourth  Book  of,  5,  7,  136  f., 


Essenes,  the,  122,  203. 
Evolution  of  Christianity,  the  work 

so  called,  85  ff. 

Festivals,  the  Jewish,  206,  215. 
Fire,  the  proving,  334  f. 
Flood,  the,  63  f.,  66,  146,  218,  317, 


Gad,  174. 

Gentiles,   23,   154,   156,   179,   230, 


Gnosticism,  267,  269,  273. 
Gods,  heathen,  289 f.,  292. 
Gog  and  Magog,  295,  301. 
Grace  before  meat,  303. 
Greece,  295  f. 


Hades,  60,  279,  321. 
Haggadistic  writings,  8  f. 
Heathen,  fate  of,  128f. 
Heavens,  the,  161,  246,  254 f.,  267. 
Hebrew  language,  the,  201,  228. 
Hebrews,  Epistle  to  the,  240  ff. 
Herod  the  Great,  113. 
Herodian  Princes,  115. 
Hezekiah,  259. 
Hieracas,  246. 
History  in  type,  145  f. 
Homer,  302,  339. 
Hyrcanus,  37,  77,  112. 


Idolatry,  290  f. 
Isaiah,  Ascension  of,  7,  236  ff. 
Isaiah,  death  of,  240  f.,  249  f.,  267. 
Israel,  supremacy  of,  230. 
Israelites,    history    of,    67,    109  f., 

146 f.,  219  f.,  293  ff. 
Issachar>  171. 

Jacob,  173,  209 f.,  232. 
Jannseus,  Alexander,  37. 
Jechoiiiah,  133,  141. 
Jeremiah,  141. 
Jerusalem,  187  f.,  317.' 

destruction  of,  133, 138,  141  f. 


the  heavenly,  160  f.,  190,  313. 

Jesus,  316. 

Jews,  prosperity  of,  312,  342. 

Jonathan,  77. 

Joshua,  108,  312  f. 

Joseph,  169,  175,  183 f.,  209,  218, 


Jubilees,  Book  of,  8,  193  ff. 
Jubilee  system,  the,  204f.,  219,  221. 
Judah,  169,  171,  175,  182,  187. 
Judas  Maccabseus,  77. 
Judas  of  Galilee,  119. 
Jude,  quotation  from  Assumption 

of  Moses,  95,  97,  99  f.,  106. 
quotation  from  Enoch  in,  49, 

57,  73,  83,  97,  99. 
Judgment,  the  final,  24  f.,  40,  45, 

58,  70,  91,  159,  261,  291,  304  f., 
307,  320,  334. 

Lamb  of  God,  the  176,  190. 
Legion,  the  thundering,  339  f. 
Levi,   169  f.,   171,    175,    182,   187, 

209,  218,  226. 
Leviathan,  155. 

Maccabees,  77,  296,  299. 
Machpelah,  212. 
Man,  son  of,  62,  89  f. 
Manasseh,  244 f.,  249. 
Manasses,  147f. 
Mary,  the  Virgin,  262. 
Mastema,  227. 
Matanbukus,  250. 
Mattatliias,  77. 
Matthias,  119. 
Mediator,  the,  173. 
Melchisedek,  246. 
Messiah,   13  ff.,   17,  22,  40  ff.,  44, 
62,  89 f.,  143,  153 f.,  185  f.,  297. 



Messianic  hopes  and  theology,  23, 
43  f.,  58,  62,  68  f.,  79,  91  f.,  142, 
151  tf.,  189,  192,  296  ff.,  313,  319, 

Millennium,  the,  157.  159. 

Mosaic  law,  the,  178  f. 

Moses,  125,  213,  220. 

Moses,  Apocalypse  of,  196. 

Assumption  of,  7,  95  ff. 

burial  of,  95  ff. 


Naphtali,  173,  185. 

Natural  phenomena,  65. 

Nazarenes,  179,  187. 

Nero,  22,  260,  271,  306  f.,  310,  340. 

New  Testament  referred  to,  190. 

Noah,  81  f.,  209,  237  f.,  330. 


Odenathus,  338,  340  f. 
Oracles,  the  heathen,  341  f. 

Palestine,  82  f. 
Papias,  132,  139. 
Paradise,  60,  93,  161,  290. 
Parousia,    the,    129  f.,    151,    187, 

229,  271,  320. 
Parthians,  80,  139. 
Passover,  Feast  of,  215  f. 
Patripassianism,  187. 
Paul,  St.,  writings  of,  190. 
Pentecost,  Feast  of,  215. 
Pharisaism,  39. 
Phocylides,  332. 
Phoenix,  the,  108,  321  f. 
Phrygia,  317. 
Pistis  Sophia,  28. 
Place,  the  holy,  211. 
Pompey,  37  ff.,  114. 
Potiphar,  183. 
Prophet,  the,  121,  129.  ^ 
Pseudepigraphic,    meaning    of,    1, 

5,  6. 

—  writings,  character  of,  2  f. 

writings,  number  of,  4  f. 

Ptolemy  Physcon,  292,  297. 


Ramiel,  146,  149. 

Repentance,  45. 

Resurrection,  the,  23  f.,  40,  44,  46, 

62,  69,  92,  128,  143,  156  ff.,  307, 

334,  343. 
Reuben.  168. 

Revelation,  how  made,  149  f. 
Righteous,  fate  of  the,  57,  63,  69  f., 

156  ff.,  189,  261,  305,  307  f.,  335. 
Rome,  152,  293,  307,  308  f.,  310  f., 

320,  340. 

Sabbath,  224  f.,  234. 

Sadducees,  116,  215. 

Sammael,  267. 

Sapor,  340  f. 

Satan,  21,  94,  227,  249. 

Sebaste,  336. 

Seven,  the  number,  221  f. 

Sbeol,  92  f. 

Shepherds,  the  seventy,  67  f.,  74  ff. 

Sibylla,  276  f.,  289,  294. 

Sibylline  Oracles,  9,  276  ff. 

Simeon,  169,  182. 

Sin,  original,  150  f. 

Solomon,  Psalter  of,  6,  25  ff. 

Solomon,  Wisdom  of,  1,  6. 

Soul,  immortality  of,  228  f. 

Spirit,  angel  of  the,  257,  260,  262. 

Spirit,  the  Holy,  189  f.,  246,  298. 

Stars,  the  disobedient,  59  f. 

State,  the  intermediate,  93. 

Symbolical  representations,  66  f. 

Tabernacles,  feast  of,  215,  235. 
Tablets,  the  heavenly,  65,  69,  70. 
Taxo,  118  ff. 

Testaments,  Apocryphal,  8. 
Testaments  of  the  XII.  Patriarchs, 

8,  162  ff.,  199. 
Theocracy,  123,  128  f. 
Therapetitfe,  328. 
Tiberius,  309. 
Time,  how  divided,  10. 
Torment,  place  of,  71. 
Trajan,  145. 
Tree  of  life,  60. 




Universalism,  329,  335. 
Ur,  212. 
Uriel,  149. 

Varus,  113  f. 
Vesuvius,  302,  306. 
Vine,  legend  of,  132. 

W      ' 

Weeks,  apocalyptical,  69,  91,  145. 
Wicked,  fate  of  the,  46  f.,  57,  70, 
158,  162,  307,  335. 

Wisdom  of  Solomon,  the,  1,  6. 
Woman,  the  mystical,  322,  337. 
World,  end  of  the,  141,  145. 

Years,  the  seventy,  75,  111. 

Zabulus,  121. 

Zealots,  the,  105,  109,  112  f.,  119, 

123,  127  f.,  343. 
Zebulon,  172,  183. 


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the  fruit  of  his  continued  labour,  and  that  a  thorough  revisal  of  the 
whole  work  has  been  made. 

Canon  CHEYNE  says: — '  Students  of  Isaiah  will  greet  so  early  a  translation 
of  Delitzsch's  "Isaiah."  .  .  .  Prefixed  to  it  is  an  interesting  critical  sketch 
by  Professor  Driver,  which  will  be  a  useful  gtiide  to  students,  not  only  of 
this,  but  of  the  other  works  of  the  accomplished  author.' 

'  Delitzsch's  last  gift  to  the  Christian  Church.  ...  In  our  opinion,  those 
who  would  enter  into  the  meaning  of  that  Spirit  as  He  spake  long  ago  by 
Isaiah,  words  of  comfort  and  hope  which  have  not  lost  their  significance  to- 
day, cannot  find  a  better  guide ;  one  more  marked  by  learning,  reverence, 
and  insight,  than  Franz  Delitzsch.'— Professor  W.  T.  DAVJSON  in  The 
Expository  Times. 

4  Commentaries  in  Europe  are  not  often  republished  after  their  author's 
death,  whatever  is  of  permanent  value  in  them  being  appropriated  by  their 
successors.  But  it  may  be  long  before  one  undertakes  the  task  of  expounding 
the  Prophets  possessing  so  many  gifts  and  employing  them  so  well.' — 

T.  and  T.  Clark's  Publications. 

In  Two  Vols.  8vo,  FOUKTH  EDITION,  price  36s., 



CONTENTS  :— Book  I.  The  Body.  II.  The  Soul.  III.  Life.  IV.  Man. 
V.  Mind.  VI.  The  Microcosmic  Order ;  or,  The  Course  of  Human  Life: 
VII.  History.  VIII.  Progress.  IX.  The  Unity  of  Things. 

'  These  are  indeed  two  masterly  volumes,  vigorous  in  intellectual  power, 
and  translated  with  rare  ability.  .  .  .  This  work  will  doubtless  find  a  place 
on  the  shelves  of  all  the  foremost  thinkers  and  students  of  modern  times.' — 
Evangelical  Magazine. 

4  The  English  public  have  now  before  them  the  greatest  philosophic  work 
produced  in  Germany  by  the  generation  just  past.  The  translation  comes  at 
an  opportune  time,  for  the  circumstances  of  English  thought,  just  at  the 
present  moment,  are  peculiarly  those  with  which  Lotze  attempted  to  deal 
when  he  wrote  his  "  Microcosnaus,"  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago.  .  .  .  Few 
philosophic  books  of  the  century  are  so  attractive  both  in  style  and  matter.' — 

*  Lotze  is  the  ablest,  the  most  brilliant,  and  most  renowned  of  the  German 
philosophers  of  to-day.  ...  He  has  rendered  invaluable  and  splendid  service 
to  Christian  thinkers,  and  has  given  them  a  work  which  cannot  fail  to  equip 
them  for  the  sturdiest  intellectual  conflicts  and  to  ensure  their  victory.' — 
Haptist  Magazine. 

In  Two  Vols.  8vo,  price  21s., 



By  DR.  FR.  H.  REUSCH. 

^Translate*!  from  tfje  JFotirtfj  tuition 

4  Other  champions  much  more  competent  and. learned  than  myself  might 
have  been  placed  in  the  field;  I  will  only  name  one  of  the  most  recent, 
Dr.  Keusch,  author  of  "Nature  and  the  Bible.'"— The  Eight  Hon.  W.  E. 

'  The  work,  we  need  hardly  say,  is  of  profound  and  perennial  interest,  and 
it  can  scarcely  be  too  highly  commended  as,  in  many  respects,  a  very  success- 
ful attempt  to  settle  one  of  the  most  perplexing  questions  of  the  day.  It  is 
impossible  to  read  it  without  obtaining  larger  views  of  theology,  and  more 
accurate  opinions  respecting  its  relations  to  science,  and  no  one  will  rise  from 
its  perusal  without  feeling  a  deep  sense  of  gratitude  to  its  author.' — Scottish 

T.  and  T.  Clark's  Publications. 

Just  published,  in  post  8vo,  price  7s.  6d., 




'  I  may  say,  without  hesitation,  that  readers  will  here  find  a  deeply  interest- 
ing account  of  a  sincere  and  brilliant  thinker.  .  .  .  The  publication  of  this 
book  will  be  a  pure  gain  if  it  calls  the  attention  of  fresh  students  to  the 
writings  of  a  theologian  so  independent  as  Vinet  was,  yet  so  supreme  in  his 
allegiance  to  the  majesty  of  truth.' — Ven.  Archdeacon  FARRAR. 

'Miss  Lane  deserves  the  grateful  thanks  of  all  students  of  theology  for  her 
praiseworthy  attempt  to  revive  interest  in  a  man  whose  views  have  a  special 
message  for  these  times,  and  whose  lofty  and  beautiful  spirit  cannot  fail  like- 
wise to  attract  all  students  of  human  nature.' — Glasgow  Herald. 

Just  published,  in  demy  8vo,  price  7s.  6d., 





'  What  strikes  us  at  once  about  the  work  is  the  refreshing  boldness  and 
independence  of  the  writer,  which,  however,  is  not  mere  waywardness  or 
idiosyncrasy.  In  spite  of  the  long-drawn  previous  history  of  the  science  and 
of  its  voluminous  records,  Miss  Jones  finds  plenty  to  say  that  is  freshly  worked 
out  by  independent  thought.  There  is  a  spring  of  vitality  and  vigour  per- 
vading and  vitalising  the  aridity  of  even  these  abstract  discussions.' — 
Cambridge  Review. 

Just  published,  in  demy  8vo,  price  9s., 

KANT,     LOTZE,     AND     RITSGHL: 

Jl  Critkal  (Examination. 


4  In  a  few  lines  it  is  impossible  to  give  an  adequate  idea  of  this  learned  work, 
which  goes  to  the  very  root  of  the  philosophical  and  metaphysical  speculations 
of  recent  years.' — Ecclesiastical  Gazette. 

4  We  are  grateful  to  the  publishers  for  this  volume,  which  deserves  to  bo 
carefully  read  and  studied. ' — London  Quarterly  Review. 

*  The  book  is  worthy  of  careful  study.'— Church  Bells. 





Nicoll  (W.  Pi.,  LL.D.) — The  Incarnate  Saviour :  A  Life  of  Jesus 

Christ.     Crown  8vo,  6s. 

'  It  commands  my  warm  sympathy  and  admiration.  I  rejoice  in  the  circula- 
tion of  such  a  book,  which  I  trust  will  be  the  widest  possible.' — Canon  Liddon. 

Lange  (J.  P.,  D.D.)— The  Life  of  Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  Edited, 
with  additional  Notes,  by  Prof.  MARCUS  DODS,  D.  D.  Second  Edition, 
in  Four  vols.  8vo,  Subscription  price  28s. 

Stalker   (Jas.,  D.D.) — A  Life  of  Christ.     Bible  Class  Handbooks. 

Crown  8vo,  Is.  6d. ;  large  type  Edition,  handsomely  bound,  3s.  6d. 
'As  a  succinct,  suggestive,  beautifully  written  exhibition  of  the  life  of  our 
Lord,  we  are  acquainted  with  nothing  that  can  compare  with  it.' — Christian 

Naville  (Ernest} — The  Christ.    Seven  Lectures.     Translated  hj  Rev. 

T.  J.  DESPRE"S.     Crown  8vo,  4s.  6d. 

'Ministers  who  wish  for  suggestions  and  guidance  as  to  the  manner  in  which 
they  can  treat  of  the  pressingly  important  subject  which  is  considered  by  M. 
Naville,  should  take  pains  to  acquaint  themselves  with  this  volume.' — Christian 

Caspari  (C.  E.} — A   Chronological  and  Geographical  Introduction  to 

THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST.     8vo,  7s.  6d. 

1  No  Bible  student  should  fail  to  make  this  treatise  his  constant  friend  and 
companion.' — Bell's  Weekly  Messenger. 

Bruce  (A.  B.,  D.D.} — The  Kingdom  of  God;  or,  Christ's  Teaching 
according  to  the  Synoptical  Gospels.  Fourth  Edition,  post  8vo,  7s.  6d. 

Bruce  (A.  B.,  D.D.) — The  Training  of  the  Twelve;  or,  Exposition 
of  Passages  in  the  Gospels  exhibiting  the  Twelve  Disciples  of  Jesus 
under  Discipline  for  the  Apostleship.     Fourth  Edition,  8vo,  10s.  6d. 
'  A  really  great  book  on  an  important,  large,  and  attractive  subject ;  a  book 

full  of  loving,  wholesome,  profound  thoughts  about  the  fundamentals  of  Christian 

faith  and  practice.' — British  and  Foreign  Evangelical  Review. 

Bruce  (A.  B.,  D.D.} — The  Humiliation  of  Christ,  in  its  Physical, 

ETHICAL,  AND  OFFICIAL  ASPECTS.     Third  Edition,  8vo,  10s.  6d. 
1  This  noble  theological  treatise.' — Evangelical  Magazine. 

Scrymgeour  (Wm.) — Lessons  on  the  Life  of  Christ.     Bible   Class 

Handbooks,  2s.  6d. 

4  A  thoroughly  satisfactory  help  both  to  teacher  and  scholar.'  —  British 

Lehmann  (Pastor  E.) — Scenes  from  the  Life  of  Jesus.     Crown  8vo, 

3s.  6d. 

4  There  is  in  these  lectures  a  tender  sympathy,  and  a  spiritual  devoutness  and 
simplicity,  which  gives  to  them  a  real  charm.' — Literary  World. 


T.  and  T.  Clark's  Publications. 

Smeaton  (Professor) — The  Doctrine  of  the  Atonement  as  Taught  by 

CHRIST  HIMSELF.     Second  Edition,  8vo,  10s.  6d. 

'  We  attach  very  great  value  to  this  seasonable  aud  scholarly  production.' — 
British  and  Foreign  Evangelical  Review. 

Stier  (Dr.  Rudolph) — On   the   Words  of  the  Lord  Jesus.     Eight 
vols.  8vo  (or  the  8  vols.  bound  in  FOUR),  £2,  2s.  nelt.       Separate 
volumes  may  be  had,  price  10s.  6d. 
'  The  whole  work  is  a  treasury  of  thoughtful  exposition.' — Guardian. 

Ullmann  (Dr.  Carl) — The  Sinlessness  of  Jesus :  An  Evidence  for 
Christianity.     Third  Edition,  crown  8vo,  6s. 

*  Ullmann  has  studied  the  sinlessness  of  Christ  more  profoundly,  and  written 
on  it  more  beautifully,  than  any  other  theologian.' — Canon  FARRAR  in  his  Life 
of  Christ. 

Ebrard  (Dr.  J.  H.  A.) — The  Gospel  History:  A  Compendium  of 
Critical  Investigations  in  support  of  the  Four  Gospels.     8vo,  10s.  6d. 
'  Nothing  could  have  been  more  opportune  than  the  republication  in  English 
of  this  admirable  work.' — British  and  Foreign  Evangelical  Review. 

Steinmeyer  (Dr.  F.  L.) — The  Miracles  of  Our  Lord :  Examined  in 

their  relation  to  Modern  Criticism.     8vo,  7s.  6d. 

'  Will  take  its  place  among  the  best  recent  volumes  of  Christian  evidence.' — 

Steinmeyer  (Dr.  F.  L.) — The  History  of  the  Passion  and  Resurrection 
OF  OUR  LORD,  considered  in  the  Light  of  Modern  Criticism.     8vo, 
10s.  6d. 
'  Will  well  repay  earnest  study.' —  Weekly  Review. 

Krummacher  (Dr.  F.  W.) — The  Suffering  Saviour  ;  or,  Meditations 
on  the  Last  Days  of  the  Sufferings  of  Christ,     8th  Ed.,  cr.  8vo,  7s.  6d. 
'  To  the  devout  and  earnest  Christian  the  volume  will  be  a  treasure  indeed.' — 
Wesleyan  Times. 

Dorner  (Professor) — History  of  the  Development  of  the  Doctrine  of 

THE  PERSON  OF  CHRIST.     Five  vols.  8vo,  £2,  12s.  6d. 

'  So  great  a  mass  of  learning  and  thought  so  ably  set  forth  has  never  before 
been  presented  to  English  readers,  at  least  on  this  subject.' — Journal  of  Sacred 

Weiss  (Dr.  Bernhard}—The  Life  of  Christ.     3  vols.  8vo,  31s.  Qd. 

'  From  the  thoroughness  of  the  discussion  and  clearness  of  the  writer,  we 
anticipate  a  very  valuable  addition  to  the  Great  Biography.' — Freeman. 

The   Voice  from  the  Cross:    A  Series  of  Sermons  on  our  Lord's 
Passion  by  eminent  Living  Preachers  of  Germany.     Edited  and  trans- 
lated by  WM.  MACINTOSH,  M.  A.,  F.S.S.     Crown  8vo,  5s. 
'Is  certain  to  be  welcomed  with   devout  gratitude  by  every  evangelical 

Christian  in  Britain.' — Christian  Leader. 

Salmond  (Professor) — The  Life  of  Christ.      Bible  Class  Primers. 

Paper  covers,  6d. ;  cloth,  8d. 

'  A  scholarly  and  beautiful  presentation  of  the  story  of  the  Four  Gospels.' — 
Sunday  School  Chronicle. 
Hall   (Rev.  Newman,  LL.B.} — The  Lord's  Prayer;    A  Practical 

Meditation.     Second  Edition,  crown  8vo,  6s. 

*  The  author's  thoughts  are  sharply  cut,  and  are  like  crystals  in  their  clearness 
and  power.' — British  Quarterly  Review. 

T.  and  T.  Claris  Publications. 


(Copyright,  by  arrangement  with  the  Author.) 

In  Two  Volumes,  demy  8vo,  price  21s., 


BY   F.    GODET,    D.D., 


4  A  perfect  masterpiece  of  theological  toil  and  thought.  .  .  .  Scholarly, 
evangelical,  exhaustive,  and  able.' — Evangelical  Review. 

4  To  say  a  word  in  praise  of  any  of  Professor  Godet's  productions  is  almost 
like  "gilding  refined  gold."  All  who  are  familiar  with  his  commentaries 
know  how  full  they  are  of  rich  suggestion.  .  .  .  This  volume  fully  sustains 
the  high  reputation  Godet  has  made  for  himself  as  a  biblical  scholar,  and 
devout  expositor  of  the  will  of  God.  Every  page  is  radiant  with  light,  and 
gives  forth  heat  as  well.1 — Methodist  New  Connexion  Magazine. 

In  Three  Volumes,  8vo,  price  31s.  6d., 


A  New  Edition,  Revised  throughout  by  the  Author. 

'This  work  forms  one  of  the  battle-fields  of  modern  inquiry,  and  is  itself 
so  rich  in  spiritual  truth,  that  it  is  impossible  to  examine  it  too  closely;  and 
wo  welcome  this  treatise  from  the  pen  of  Dr.  Godet.  We  have  no  more  com- 
petent exegete;  and  this  new  volume  shows  all  the  learning  and  vivacity  for 
which  the  author  is  distinguished.' — Freeman. 

In  Two  Volumes,  8vo,  price  21s., 


'  Marked  by  clearness  and  good  sense,  it  will  be  found  to  possess  value  and 
interest  as  one  of  the  most  recent  and  copious  works  specially  designed  to 
illustrate  this  Gospel.' — Guardian. 

In  Two  Volumes,  8vo,  price  21s., 


'We  prefer  this  commentary  to  any  other  we  have  seen  on  the  subject. 
.  .  .  We  have  great  pleasure  in  recommending  it  as  not  only  rendering 
invaluable  aid  in  the  critical  study  of  the  text,  but  affording  practical  and 
deeply  suggestive  assistance  in  the  exposition  of  the  doctrine.' — British  and 
Foreign  Evangelical  Review. 

In  crown  8vo,  Second  Edition,  price  6s., 




'There  is  trenchant  argument  and  resistless  logic  in  these  lectures;  but 
withal,  there  is  cultured  imagination  and  felicitous  eloquence,  which  carry 
home  the  appeals  to  the  heart  as  well  as  the  head.' — Sword  and  Trowel. 


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